It was a fantastic evening for the University of Bath at the EntreConf Awards on Thursday 28 September at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Described as an ‘unrivalled, first-ever celebration of entrepreneurialism in the region’, the University of Bath was recognised in a number of categories.

Winner of the Science category and joint winner of the Sustainability Award was Kelpi, a material innovation company who worked closely with the University. They have developed the technology to replace single-use plastics with premium performance bioplastics that harness the novel properties and environmental benefits of seaweed.

Kelpi CEO and co-founder Neil Morris said:

We’re honoured and delighted to have been selected for our leadership in both science and sustainable technology from such a fantastic array of companies. The awards recognise what the whole Kelpi team of scientists and entrepreneurs has achieved towards replacing the scourge of single-use, fossil fuel plastic packaging with a truly sustainable alternative.

Congratulations to CitAb, a University spin-out company formed in 2014, for also being shortlisted as a finalist in the Science category. CiteAb provides world-class data that accelerates scientific research by powering a search engine for researchers and many of the world's leading reagent suppliers and financial companies.

University of Bath, School of Management, alumnus James Courtney won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. James is CEO and co-founder of LUX Rewards, a premium rewards scheme for restaurants and retailers, powered by card-linking. He leads on strategy and major partnerships, securing investments and hitting targets.

He was supported through the student enterprise function of the SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre. This included taking part in the Dragons' Den and Bath Entrepreneurship Programme, and winning an Innovation Award and Business Plan Competition.

On receiving his award James said:

I've been running LUX Rewards (a Lyfe Technology brand) for 70% of my adult life and there have been plenty of ups and downs, so this award really means a lot. Thank you to everyone who has supported me. The startup community in Bath and Bristol is unparalleled. To welcome me in when I was 20 years old, still studying full-time at Uni, and offer tonnes of advice, guidance and support was invaluable and I am forever indebted. I hope to return full-circle to help other young entrepreneurs make that step (or giant leap sometimes!) into starting their own businesses.

David Kelly, University of Bath alumnus and CEO of Storm Consultancy, a multi award-winning digital technology agency based in Bath, was shortlisted in the Entrepreneur of the Year and Employer categories.

The University of Bath School of Management sponsored the Employer award at the EntreConf Awards with Dimo Dimov, Professor of Entrepreneurialism and Innovation, presenting the award to winner in this category.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners.

If you would like more information about partnership or content opportunities at EntreConf 2024 in May, please contact the organisers.