Winners of the 2019 Enterprise Awards announced

On Wednesday evening, The Terrace at Oxford Brookes was buzzing with local entrepreneurs, innovators, big business and key movers and shakers involved in science and tech in our region for the 2019 Enterprise Awards. A highlight of The Oxford Trust’s year, the Awards are run in partnership with Venturefest Oxford and sponsored by Mark and Clerk, Barclays, Oxford Innovation, Advanced Oxford and product design company Triteq.

This year’s winners include a business that is enabling the next generation of satellite services, a pioneer of genetically-engineered pest control, a company that’s developed a fully industrialised diamond marking system and two entrepreneurs who have developed a software platform that is helping to improve cancer screening and diagnosis.

The award ceremony was introduced by Megan Morys-Carter, Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Oxford and one of our trustees. First up was the Triteq Young Entrepreneur Award. Managing Director Angela Hobbs presented founders Liberty Foreman and Katherine Willetts of DynamX Medical with their well-deserved award. They have developed a software platform that combines AI and infrared spectroscopy, to improve cancer diagnosis. Liberty and Katherine were honoured to receive the award and said, “We couldn’t have got this far without our amazing team – we are taking the award back for them”.

Next on stage was Jo Willets, MD of Oxford Innovation, to present the Start-up Award to Andrew Rimmer, CEO and Founder of Opsydia, a spin-out of the University of Oxford. The company creates practically invisible structures inside transparent materials by using ultra-fast laser technology. Andrew thanked The Oxford Trust for their award and said, “We have been lucky that our technology has already been adopted by diamond company Debeers, which has resulted in amazing growth of our University of Oxford spin-out.”

Sarah Hayward, newly-appointed MD of Advanced Oxford, presented the Breakthrough Technology Award to Dr Kelly Matzen, Head of Global Operations at Oxitec – a biotech company pioneering the use of genetic engineering to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops. Kelly said that they were delighted with the award and that “it is in recognition of the incredible work we are doing at Oxitec on control of pests and diseases which we hope will have a huge global impact.”

This 2019 Barclays Award for Innovation went to Oxford Space Systems – a dynamic company that is developing a new generation of deployable antennas and structures, which will be a key enabler for the next generation of satellite services. Head of Business Development, Armando Rojas Gomez said, “Thank from all at Oxford Space Systems for the award” and gave a shout out to everyone “to keep innovating”.

This year Barclays also presented a Special Recognition Award for Innovation to Oxford Biomedica for its work on gene and cell therapies as well as its contribution to employment and the local economy in Oxfordshire. Dr Alex Lewis, Director of Corporate Activities and Strategy, picked up the award for the business. Now in its twentieth year, the company is a huge success story with its incredible work on life-changing treatments for serious diseases such as cancer. It is based across five sites in Oxfordshire and employs nearly 600 people.

And, finally, our CEO Steve Burgess presented Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford with The Oxford Trust Outstanding Achievement Award. He was chosen by our Board for his contribution to biomedical engineering and translational innovation in healthcare and technology systems. His pioneering work in the clinical use of machine learning has had a huge influence not just on the development of e-health in Oxford but around the world.

Like previous winners of the Enterprise Awards, we look forward to seeing these companies develop and grow over the next few years.