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Nominations now open for the Cofinitive #21toWatch Awards 2020

Cofinitive has launched its 2020 campaign to find the next big thing with the launch of its #21toWatch Awards.

The initiative follows the success of the inaugural #OnetoWatch campaign last year.

The inaugural #OnetoWatch top 21. Picture: Keith Heppell
The inaugural #OnetoWatch top 21. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Burwell-based corporate communications consultancy has begun an extensive search to find ground-breaking and inspiring people, companies and ‘things’ across Cambridge and the East of England. The awards will honour those setting the standards in cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurship across the globe.

#21toWatch, supported by the Cambridge Independent, will showcase and highlight some lesser-known talent, recognising exciting new entrants across all market sectors.

Faye Holland, founder and director of Cofinitive, says: “The #21toWatch initiative gives start-ups and established businesses alike the opportunity to be spotlighted for something that is, or has the potential to be, revolutionary. It is an incredibly inspiring activity to be leading.”

Each submission will be assessed on five specific attributes: innovation, challenge, influence, viability and memorability.

As last year, there will be diverse lists for the three categories – people, companies and things – and seven from each will make up the final #21toWatch, following selection by an independent judging panel.

An early nominee making it onto the people longlist is Emily Mackay, head of AI and data strategy at Congenica.

Emily Mackay, Congenica
Emily Mackay, Congenica

Emily was nominated by several sources for her exceptional work, originating fresh ways to use AI to advance the clinical decision-support platform’s work in genomic interpretation.

Emily epitomises the calibre of individuals working behind the scenes in many start-ups.

She said: “I am hugely honoured to be held up as a role model for women in tech and, in particular, those motivated to be working in this space from a non-traditional background.”

POCKiT diagnostics has, similarly, made it onto the companies longlist. For the last two years, the start-up has been focused on developing a novel biomarker panel for stroke subtype differentiation.

The company was a deserving finalist in the Cofinitive-sponsored One to Watch category at last month’s Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards.

OnetoWatch (21361929)
OnetoWatch (21361929)

CEO Gonzalo Ladreda said: “We are developing the first blood test to accurately diagnose a stroke. We are on a mission to save thousands, if not millions, of lives.”

Innovative agritech company Herdsy appeared on the 2019 companies longlist and has made an early entry onto the 2020 ‘things’ longlist with a device that acts like aFitBit for cows.

The Herdsy Livestock Tracking Collar is the only animal tracking tag that can be used on any farm animal – extrapolating the health of livestock to help cut costs and ensure a more sustainable, precision farming practice.

OnetoWatch (21361925)
OnetoWatch (21361925)

The #21toWatch lists are compiled throughout the year. Every submission is vigorously assessed before being added to the longlist. From this, the shortlist is compiled for judging, and the final top 21 will be announced on March 5, 2020.

Cofinitive has revealed that it was receiving nominations and submissions for the 2020 campaign even during the 2019 awards ceremony.

Faye added: “We’ve already received more than 120 submissions, even before opening the formal nomination window and launching the 2020 awards. But these are just the tip of the iceberg as there are so many incredible things going on across the region.”

Many of 2019’s top 21 have gone on to enjoy great success – securing new rounds of funding, making new mentoring and business connections and securing new clients.

And Cofinitive has been encouraged by the response from businesses keen to feature on the list, or support others on it.

You can make your nomination for #21toWatch and find out more about at cofinitive.com/21toWatch. The deadline is January 31, 2020.

Last year’s top 21

CorrosionRADAR CEO co-founder and CEO Dr Chiraz Ennaceur

Waterscope CEO Dr Alexander Patto

Particle physicist Dr Mireia Crispin

Geek-whisperer Adelina Chalmers

Darktrace CMO Emily Orton

Simprints CEO and co-founder Toby Norman




Cambridge Glycoscience


CMR Surgical



Sorex Sensors



8 Power


ANB Sensors

Cydar Medical

Read more

Watch the highlights and see the pictures from the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards 2019

David MacLeod to share expertise on employee engagement at free EngageEast meeting in Cambridge

The attributes of a #OnetoWatch

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