A number of the region’s most innovative entrepreneurs have been celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony in the heart of Chester.
Held at the city’s Storyhouse Theatre and hosted by the University of Chester, the Innovation to Commercialisation (I2C) Awards 2019 recognised the extraordinary achievements made by eight of the 120 businesses from across Cheshire and Warrington which have benefited from the I2C project over the last two years.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and delivered by the University of Chester, I2C has helped eligible SMEs to introduce innovation to their organisations and effectively bring new products, processes and services to market. Along with I2C’s own team of engineers and specialist equipment, I2C has also offered SMEs access to the University of Chester’s state-of-the-art skills, equipment and resources, based at Thornton Science Park and NoWFOOD, which is based at the University’s Parkgate Road Campus in Chester.
Beneficiaries of I2C have included a huge variety of SMEs, ranging from the smallest start-ups to more established companies, looking for support on a particular part of their business. The project has resulted in 28 new products being brought to market, 84 new processes being introduced to business and 10 new jobs being created. Innovations have included a new cooling therapy, numerous food and drink products, including pet food, luxury accessories, renewable technology, chemical processes and many more.
The night’s award winners included Asset Cool, creators of a cooling coating for cabling to save energy, which won Outstanding Employer. In his acceptance speech, Asset Cool spokesperson, Barry Johnston, paid tribute to the University of Chester itself, which he attended when studying for his MSc in Environmental Biology, long before his involvement with I2C.
Paul Vernon, CEO at Thornton Science Park and sponsor of the I2C project, said:
“The scale and scope of the businesses which have benefited from I2C are reflected in the variety of the award winners who have been honoured in this ceremony. I feel truly privileged to have been involved at the start of their commercialisation journey. I am confident that we are going to hear a lot more about these remarkable innovators and their products as they continue to keep this region at the forefront of business enterprise.”
University of Chester Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler, who attended the Awards, said:
“The outstanding success of the I2C project is testament to the commitment of everyone involved. Now the project is complete, we hope these beneficiaries and other SMEs will explore further growth opportunities with ourselves and our partners, including West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce and the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Hub.”
Over 25 businesses were shortlisted for eight award categories. The categories and winners were:
• Innovative food business – Green Sisters
• Outstanding new business - Kooley
• New innovation to market – Asset Cool
• Outstanding entrepreneur – Bax Bees
• Outstanding business woman – High Bird Shooting
• Outstanding employer – CORE Additive Technology Ltd
• Clean growth – H20 Turbines Ltd
• Outstanding collaboration – Motrac Race Engineering Ltd
Case studies about some of the I2C beneficiaries can be found at https://www1.chester.ac.uk/innovation-commercialisation-i2c/case-studies
The I2C project has now finished but if you are a business looking for access to facilities and expert growth support, please contact the University of Chester’s Business Growth team www1.chester.ac.uk/business-growth, email: email@example.com or call 01244 512 477.