Winners of the Launch: GW Awards Announced!
On June 6th, 2019, the Launch: Great West Awards brought together over 250 members of the growing scientific start-up ecosystems across the South West in the Grand Mercure Hotel in Bristol. The awards honoured the achievements of start-up and spin-out companies commercialising scientific research across all scientific disciplines in eight categories that recognise achievements from recently incorporated ventures to those companies that have secured noteworthy fund-raises and exits.
The evening, hosted by Dr Emily Grossman science communicator, broadcaster, and educator, and an expert in molecular biology and genetics, was made possible by a fantastic community of attendees, judges, and sponsors - particularly headline sponsor the Bristol BioDesign Institute.
Local MP Thangam Debbonaire kicked off the celebrations commenting “I am delighted that this celebration of scientific and technological innovation is taking place in the region. There are a lot of cutting-edge scientific research in the region. This has contributed to the region’s well-deserved reputation for creativity and innovation, evident in our universities and the agenda-setting businesses which contribute so much to the economy.”
Over 55% of all companies put in an application for the “Global Good Award” demonstrating the tremendous positive impacts that these companies can have, striving to tackle global challenges, such as disease prevention, food security, and meeting the world’s energy demands.
“The South West displays exceptional research strengths across life sciences, quantum technologies, robotics and advanced engineering. Recently, there has been a major increase in business formation around ideas derived from academic research. The Launch Great West Awards celebrates the achievements of this growing community to inspire the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs” states Dr Ben Miles, CEO of Spin Up Science Ltd, the organising group behind the event.
57% of nominees were from companies incorporated in the past two years representing a doubling of the science start-up community in the South West. Nominations were received from companies based in Bristol (64%), Bath (23%), Plymouth (11%) and Exeter (2%).
During the evening, Dr Martin Sadler special adviser to the VC of the University of Bristol on Industrial Strategy addressed the audience stating, “if we want to continue to make our region, [the South West] successful, we’re gonna have to work a lot harder at building shared language and we’re gonna have to work a lot harder at moving people around. The key thing is we have to get everyone out of their comfort zones and spending time in [parts of] the ecosystem they’re not familiar with.”
While discussing the increased scientific start-up activity in the South West, Dr Harry Destecriox stated, “I really see this [Launch: Great West] as a landmark event. What has happened in the [South West] in the last 24 months is really hard to take in and these moments are really important just to stop and look back and take stock of what’s happening. I’m really excited about what the next 24 months holds.”