Science Minister Jo Johnson says UK should be ‘best place in Europe’ to start a business

Posted On: 
15th October 2015

Science and Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP has this week hailed the success of some of the UK's most innovative small and medium-sized businesses, at a showcase House of Commons event.

The award ceremony recognised great innovation among projects co-funded by Innovate UK and sought to inspire other budding innovators.

Speaking at the event, Mr Johnson said: “Small businesses are the engine of the British economy and by continuing to innovate they are ensuring their successful growth and contributing to productivity and prosperity in our country.

“We want Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate, patent new ideas and start a business, which is why it’s such a pleasure to honour so many inspirational firms with these awards.”                                                           

Among the night’s successes was David Williams, chief executive of
Discuva, which won the 'innovation attracting investment' award. The drug discovery business has attracted £1.1 million in private investment and has signed a multi-million pound partnership with Roche.

Other winners included Jenny Griffiths, chief executive of
Snap Fashion, with the Snap Fashion app, which won the award for most inspiring overall example of innovation. The SME has attracted investment from Time Inc and won the $175,000 Cisco British Innovation Gateway award.

Huw W Hampson Jones, chief executive of
Oxis Energy, also secured a prize for 'innovation leading to business transformation'. The pioneering lithium sulfur battery developer has grown four-fold and seen investment of £15 million.

Other organisations that emerged with top awards from a shortlist of 22 inspiring, small and medium-sized businesses were
Cobalt Light Systemsfor ‘innovation leading to new markets’ and 
Endomagneticsfor innovation leading to productivity improvement.

Dr Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, said: “British companies, are preparing for the future with their ground-breaking innovations. They are building new industries, creating new jobs, and driving productivity. These awards celebrate the best of British innovation and I congratulate all the fantastic winners and nominees.”