Global energy components manufacturer Power Roll, cancer research pioneers HistoCyte Labs, ink manufacturer Mexar, and recruitment insights company Geek Talent, are amongst the winners of the first regional Innovation Awards announced (14 November) as part of VentureFest North East.
The North East Innovation Awards are delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork in partnership with RTC North. They celebrate stand-out examples of innovation and, in their inaugural year, also crowned Newcastle University’s Prof. Roy Sandbach as Innovation Champion.
The awards celebrate the region’s most important sectors – Manufacturing, Energy, Healthcare and Digital. Innovation of the Year was awarded to TL Multimedia and was chosen from this year’s Innovation Showcase exhibitors by delegate vote.
The winners are:
- Manufacturing Innovation Award – Mexar (Newcastle)
- Energy Innovation Award – Power Roll (Washington)
- Healthcare Innovation Award – HistoCyte Labs (Newcastle)
- Digital Innovation Award – Geek Talent (Sunderland)
- Innovation Champion – Prof. Roy Sandbach
- Innovation of the Year – TL Multimedia
Simon Green, CEO at the Innovation SuperNetwork, said: “The response to our launching these awards in the summer was phenomenal and it was no small task for the judges to select today’s winners. They are truly deserved and represent just a small proportion of the innovative practice taking place right across the North East. I’d like to congratulate all of our winners, as well as those shortlisted businesses who all demonstrated an outstanding level of original thinking.”
Speakers from across the day included inventor, author and innovation speaker, Julie Holmes who delivered the afternoon keynote before announcing the award winners. In her address she encouraged delegates to go small, with incremental innovations that deliver impactful results, drive engagement, and boost the bottom line.
She said: “People wait for the radical idea, that thing that will make them stand out from the crowd. That lightening bolt. On the flip side, we have incremental innovation. Everyday innovation, that innovation that will lets us move things forward so we are forever making progress. If radical innovation is our big bang. Then incremental innovation is our little big bang.”
Martin McGurk, Innovation Director at RTC North added: “The North East Innovation Awards showcase the outstanding examples of good practice and innovation achievements in the region. I have no doubt that a recognition like this will give a huge boost and encouragement to the winners and their teams to continue to develop their innovation management capabilities. It enhances their projects, raises morale and has the potential to help secure backing and finance.
“Through networks and projects like the Enterprise Europe Network, Innovate to Succeed and Pathways to Innovation, RTC North has been helping businesses across the region innovate, compete and grow for over 30 years and we are delighted to be part of these Awards showcasing the very best of the region’s innovative talent.”
VentureFest North East attracted its biggest crowd to date with more than 800 attendees. The event is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve their competitiveness and profitability.
VentureFest North East is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with over 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. The SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group, ENGIE, Reece Innovation, North East BIC and Innovate UK, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.