The 2021 shortlist for next month’s coveted #21toWatch Awards can now be revealed – and it includes some of the most inspirational entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovations from the East of England.
Organised by Burwell-based cofinitive, and supported by the Cambridge Independent, the annual awards attracted hundreds of entries.
Entrepreneur and cofinitive founder Faye Holland, who created the programme, said: “This year’s cohort have truly blown us away. The longlist was absolutely phenomenal – and, as a result, reducing this to a shortlist was incredibly challenging”.
“We have been delighted to see so many people, companies and ‘things’ from previous shortlists, even Top21s, back again as their work progresses, and, in some cases, pivots. This continued recognition for innovation and entrepreneurship demonstrates how brilliantly these people and businesses are adapting, evolving and thriving despite what has been a challenging year for most”.
“Our region is maintaining its global reputation for excellence in biotechnology and life sciences which is once again reflected in this year’s shortlist as expected. However, the shortlist also includes other incredibly innovative people, companies and ‘things’ in industries as diverse as artificial intelligence-enabled solutions, manufacturing, and water and energy sustainability. I really don’t envy the judges their task of assessing the 48 on the shortlist, to secure the Top21.2021!”
The #21toWatch shortlist is being judged by four leading experts across a range of disciplines. This year, the judges are Simon Thorpe, angel investor, managing partner of Delta 2020 and chair of Cambridge Angels, Yupar Myint, head of programme for Cambridge University’s Impulse Programme at The Maxwell Centre, a tried-and-tested catalyst for entrepreneurship, Thea Goodluck, entrepreneur engagement manager for East of England at Tech Nation, and Jason Mellad, CEO and co-founder of Cambridge healthcare accelerator Start Codon. All four will independently assess the candidates based on five criteria: innovation, challenge, influence, viability and memorability.
RSM, Tech Nation and Invested Investor have also joined as regular sponsors and partners of the #21toWatch campaign.
Now in its third year, the awards will be held as a bespoke virtual event on Thursday March 4, 2021, at 11am. Anyone in the entrepreneurial ecosystem – from entrepreneurs through to supporters of those shortlisted – can register for the event at https://cofinitive21towatch.eventbrite.co.uk.
Dr Xiaobin Zhao, CEO of Cambond, said:” We are extremely delighted and proud to be listed as a #21toWatch Shortlist.2021 in the category-Things. Cambond has a technology platform to develop plant based bioadhesive for our global green and low carbon business to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges we are facing such as plastic and food waste. We endeavour to do good “things” to have impact for our environment and society”.