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Winners of this year’s Tech South West Awards have been revealed at a live digital ceremony.
An online platform to redistribute surplus food to worthy causes, a safer method for underwater robotic surveys for the offshore energy sector and a rapidly deployed online PPE supply hub were amongst this year’s cutting-edge technology honoured at the 2020 awards.
Businesses and individuals from across the region’s tech industry tuned in to the annual ceremony, held for the first time online, and presented by Devon-based naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker.
Rovco, Amdaris and Codices were amongst the winners of the prestigious awards.
Bristol-based Rovco, a global provider of remotely operated vehicles and hydrographic services backed by cutting-edge artificial intelligence for sectors like the offshore energy industry, saw a huge surge in sales, helping them to win Tech Company of the Year (revenue over £5m) and the Innovation Award.
Brian Allen, founder of Rovco, was also named Tech Entrepreneur of the Year for his work using technology to help make the energy industry safer and greener.
New for 2020, the Hero Award recognises outstanding responses to the pandemic. It was won by Devon-based Applegate, who adapted their online marketplace platform to help source and supply over 100 million essential supplies of PPE to frontline workers.
Toby Parkins, Chairman of Tech South West, said: “All the winners and shortlisted companies of the 2020 Tech South West Awards are testament to the brilliant, diverse and thriving tech scene here in the South West.
“The awards shine the light across the region at what is a dynamic, responsive and forward-thinking tech sector. In a year of so many challenges, it’s lovely to celebrate some of the great successes and recognise the role technology has played in supporting businesses and communities.”
Neighbourly won Tech Company of the Year (revenue under £5m) and the Sustainable Tech Award. The company’s CSR platform surpassed 14,000 local charities and community groups this year, donating an impressive 25 million meals-worth of redistributed surplus food and saving 54 tonnes of carbon emissions. Bath-based Rocketmakers received a Judges’ Commendation in the Tech Company of the Year (revenue under £5m) category.
Dan Pritchard, Co-Founder of Tech South West, said: “I’m so proud. The tech sector has stayed strong in an incredibly difficult year and played its part in providing solutions to the pandemic and being a vital and growing part of the economy. From Cornwall and Devon to Bournemouth, Bristol and Wiltshire, we have an exceptional array of talented winners of this year’s Tech South West Awards.”
Emerging from Falmouth Launchpad, Codices Interactive, which successfully reached over a million monthly global players of its gaming products in June, won Best Start Up.
Bristol-based software and digital transformation specialists Amdaris won the Best Scale Up Award, with Rovco receiving a Judges’ Commendation in the category.
The International Success Award went to Bristol-based Sparkol, with their product VideoScribe now boasting over 2 million users worldwide.
Paul Coles, English Regions Director at BT Group, Lead Partner for the awards, said: “ I am hugely proud of being part of the Tech South West team. In just 2 years we have seen the various tech clusters in the South West join up and share insight and challenges for our sector. That joining up will only serve to strengthen our ability to showcase the South West as a place where tech companies can thrive.
“In turn, this will act as a point of inspiration for young people looking for a career in tech. Covid 19 has brought into sharp relief that work is an “activity” rather than necessarily a “place”. But, if you are going to choose a place to do tech, then look no further than the South West!”
Neuronostics’ BioEP technology which uses AI and mathematics to speed up the diagnosis and prognosis of epilepsy won the HealthTech Award. The team are based at the Living Systems Institute, at the University of Exeter.
Plymouth-based BMT won the Tech Research Award for their work around investigating the use of external batteries positioned outside submarine pressure hulls.
Pippa Clarke, Head of Technology, Innovation and Growth at Supporting Partner Bishop Fleming, said: “We were delighted and proud to be a supporting partner of this year’s Tech South West Awards. The awards proved there is a huge amount to celebrate about the growing tech and innovation businesses in the South West.
“Tech plays an integral part of any business, and at Bishop Fleming we have a team of experts who are passionate about supporting the sector and community. It was a fantastic ceremony to bring the tech community together to celebrate the growth, innovation and success that our tech community has and continues to achieve. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.”
The Tech Leadership Award went to SETsquared Partnership, who provide business support and investment opportunities for companies. Chris Phippen of Hatless Studios was awarded a Judges’ Commendation in this category.
Bath-based iO Academy won the Commitment to Diversity Award, whilst the Best Tech Workplace Award went to Bath-based Rocketmakers for their innovative and successful non-hierarchical working structure.
The Contribution to the Community Award went to the Heart of the South West LEP Digital Skills Partnership for the success of their digital upskill programmes across Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay.
The People’s Choice Award went to the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre in Bristol, a world-leading incubator for innovators for quantum inspired technologies.
Chris Dyson, Corporate Partner and Head of the Technology Sector at Ashfords LLP, said: "Congratulations to all the winners, the strong field of nominees and to the Tech South West team for putting on a great event, which showcased lots of exciting businesses as well as the people behind them. Ashfords is proud to continue our support for Tech South West and its sterling work in bringing together the tech businesses and hubs across the region."
Exeter-based Sparx won the Best Education Initiative Award for their work using technology to improve numeracy worldwide. The Teach Tech Award went to Anthony Martin, of Exeter College, for his dedication to enhancing students and staff's lives through technology.
West Exe School (Exeter), Vlad Nanu and Andy Rogers from Amdaris (Bristol and Bath), Applegate (North Devon), TECgirls (Cornwall), Moortec (Plymouth), Singer Instruments (Taunton), Mintivo (Wiltshire) and Savvy Navvy (Dorset) won the Tech Cluster Award for their respective areas.
Supporting the awards were Lead Partner BT, Supporting Partners Bishop Fleming and Ashfords and category sponsors Astley Media, Cathedral Appointments, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Heart of the South West LEP Digital Skills Partnership, Granted Consultancy, Headforwards, Project SW, Rocketmakers, UK Hydrographic Office, FDB, Stephens Scown, Plymouth Science Park, Software Solved, Aerospace Cornwall, Storm Consultancy, Propeller-Tech, Michelmores, Xcina Consultancy, Like Minds and Greaves Brewster.
A newly-commissioned film of the South West shot using drones was launched at the awards: https://youtu.be/SUmO6fkAqXE
The main ceremony is also now available online: https://youtu.be/FpGTkDqreaI
The South West is home to over 13,000 Digital tech companies, with a £2.44 billion Digital tech turnover and over £300 million total digital tech VC investment in 2019.
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