Region’s tech talent shines in the cofinitive #21toWatch awards

The 21 winners of this year's #21toWatch awards were revealed at an interactive virtual event this morning, (Thursday 4th March) which included guest speaker, Arm Co-Founder Jamie Urquhart sharing his insights to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

#21toWatch is a hugely successful campaign and awards that celebrate the outstanding talent within the disruptive science and tech industries from across the East of England region. The 21 winners represent the region’s globally recognised excellence in biotechnology and life sciences but also includes other incredibly innovative People, Companies and ‘Things’ in industries as diverse as artificial intelligence-enabled solutions, agri-tech, and water and energy sustainability.

This is the second year that the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor has been a supporting partner of the annual awards.  Linn Clabburn, Programme Director of the Tech Corridor said,  “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting #21toWatch for a second year. This region is full of groundbreaking technology and innovative ‘thinkers’ and #21toWatch is a great celebration of everything that makes this such a great place to live and work. The geographical spread of the #21toWatch winners shows that innovation happens everywhere and this is something we are keen to support and enable through the Tech Corridor”

Winners in the Thing’s category included Glyconics and Developing Experts, both finalists in the Tech Corridor’s 2019 Investment Catalyst programme.  Other familiar faces included Dr Justin O’Grady, Group Leader at Quadram Institute on Norwich Research Park, keeping good company alongside neighbour tenant Simon Saxby of Leaf Expression Systems, winner in the companies category.

It was great to see so many sustainability focussed innovators at this year’s awards.  In the People category was Francesca O’Hanlon, Founder and CEO, Blue Tap, a social enterprise using 3D printing to give more people in urban environments access to clean water. Back from a previous win in 2019, SATAVIA, a Cambridge aerospace startup who aim to eliminate 2% of human climate impact by making aviation smarter and greener, won a place in the coveted Companies lineup.  The virtual awards event culminated in a live vote from attendees for an overall winner. This went to Echion Technologies: Echion’s promise to reduce the charging time for electric cars to six minutes moved closer with the announcement that it has demonstrated a six-minute charge Li-ion battery cell with 200 per cent improvement in anode volumetric capacity over commercial competitors.

Entrepreneur and cofinitive Founder, Faye Holland – who created the #21toWatch Awards – said: “Securing the Top21.2021 was a tough ask for the judges as this year’s shortlist was jam-packed with inspirational people and businesses from our region. Our aim for #21toWatch, this year more than ever, was to recognise those people and companies who are creating an impact – but also to facilitate connections and a network to support them.

For details of the full #21toWatch programme and lists, please go to