Judges to choose their ‘ones to watch’

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The 2020 shortlist for March’s #21toWatch Awards promises some of the most daring entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovations from the East of England.

They are among 57, chosen from a list of 246 qualified candidates and are split into categories comprising what organisers have described as People, Companies and Things.

Among the People are Callum Coombes, CEO at Safepoint and a non-Executive Director at Menta who hopes to save lives with his current business and works to make entrepreneurialism more accessible regionally.

Others include Beth Singler, Junior Research Fellow in AI; Essex-based Brigette Bard of BioSure; Dr Kam Pooni, of Glyconics and Fotis Fotiadis, Entomics.

Cofinitive Founder, Faye Holland, who created the awards, said: “We are really delighted to see an equal number of women to men featuring. In key sectors where female entrepreneurs, founders and leaders are few and far between, this really is most encouraging.”

The 25 shortlisted companies’ include Cambridge Cancer Genomics who are developing an AI platform to analyse and interpret tumour DNA, enabling oncologists to provide more effective, personalised treatment for cancer patients.

And the “Things” shortlist, includes Xampla who are creating a natural plastic alternative made entirely from peas.

The shortlist is independently judged by four experts across a range of disciplines: Isabel Fox (Luminous Ventures), Tim Robinson (Tech East), Siddhi Trivedi (Entrepreneur) and Bruno Cotta (CJBS Entrepreneurship Centre).

The candidates will be judged on: innovation, challenge, influence, viability and memorability.

Tim Robinson said: “What impressed me most is that so many of the shortlist are people and companies addressing major real-world challenges in climate change, ethical AI, security, precision medicine and more.”

Arm and HSBC have recently joined the #21toWatch campaign as sponsors in readiness for the bespoke event on March 5 2020, which is being held at the recently opened arm HQ in Cambridge.