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James inducted into Cotton's success story in Cambridge

James Cotton, founder of Gwydir Street-based OneSpaceMedia. Picture : Richard Marsham
James Cotton, founder of Gwydir Street-based OneSpaceMedia. Picture : Richard Marsham

How Onespacemedia became a phenomenon in its own right

James Cotton, founder and CEO of Onespacemedia, has been selected by BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) as one of the UK’s 100 most influential people shaping Britain’s digital industry.

James is being honoured as a Client/Supplier Relationship Star, a category which celebrates individuals whose ideas have led to unique ways of working with their clients or suppliers, and who have delivered profitable growth for both organisations.

He started the web design and development agency in 2011 and it now has a head count of 15. Specialising in science, medical, technology and academia, its clients include Owlstone Medical, CW, Cambridge Science Park, the University of Cambridge, Wellcome Genome Campus, Fluid Analytics, NW Brown, Kymab, the Bennett Institute for Public Policy... an impressive list.

James put the success down to a number of factors.

“We differentiate ourselves by having an incredible R&D round before we build anything,” says James. “It’s a competitive landscape, so we say to prospective clients ‘Here’s a list of recommendations to build your firm in the next 24 months’.

“Business people feel much more comfortable when creative people speak in a business language, which may be why every single customer of ours recommends us to others.”

James, who is the son of Cambridge Phenomenon author and entrepreneur Charles Cotton and Ann Cotton, of Camfed, is keen to flag up the city as a creative as well as a science/academic hub.

“I was pleased about this award because as an agency I’m creating an altruistic culture. We’ve got internships, we mentor art school students at Anglia Ruskin University, but beyond that I’ve always said we should be doing two things: one is to prepare young people for our industry, and the second is that businesses shouldn’t think of themselves as an island. To me there were too many islands – why can’t Cambridge be a creative hub like Brighton or Bristol?

“It helps the local economy and it helps the individuals involved. I’m very anti-competitive and very confident in our product, and I think agencies here should be more confident and collaborate together.”

James knows that the industry is changing and adapting to Cambridge’s new-found visibility.

“When Onespacemedia began, Cambridge had only just started to market itself on the global stage: the science was incredible but when it came to selling or marketing most people didn’t have a clue, so what I’m trying to make companies realise is that there’s a highly creative side to Cambridge.”

This year’s top 100 digital influencers will attend a BIMA 100 ceremony in London on May 9.

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