Three companies associated with the University of Bath triumphed in their categories at the South West Startup Awards on the evening of 15 June at the Clock Factory in Bristol.

Aeogel Core Ltd won Bath StartUp of the Year, EnsiliTech won Rebel StartUp of the Year, and ECOZE, founded by Bath alumnus Sam Linfield, won Graduate StartUp of the Year. In total University of Bath start ups, staff and graduates were nominated for 11 awards across the competition.

The StartUp Awards National Series is a collaboration between the founders of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and the Wales Start-Up Awards, the only national and regional awards currently celebrating new businesses in the UK. The awards recognise the achievements of entrepreneurs who have spotted an opportunity and taken risks to launch a new product or service.

Professor Jonathan Knight, Vice-President (Enterprise) at the University of Bath, said: “It is thrilling to see both staff and students from our entrepreneurial ecosystem recognised at the South West StartUp Awards which receives more than a thousand applications annually. Winning across three categories for Graduate StartUp, Rebel StartUp, and Bath StartUp is a reflection of how our culture of innovation and our thriving enterprise activities are having significant impact across multiple sectors.”

Aerogel Core Ltd, created by a team of engineers from the University, specialises in ultra-light ‘aerogels’ that can be used as soundproofing and heat-shielding materials for the aerospace and automotive industries.

EnsiliTech, formed by Dr Asel Sartbaeva and her team together with Spin Up Science, aims to make vaccines that are safe and stable at all temperatures and prevent them from spoiling.

Dr Sartbaeva said: “We are delighted to win this award, it really shows that the judges agree with the importance of EnsiliTech's mission of democratising access to vaccines worldwide.

“Congratulations to all the winners, it’s was a truly impressive line-up of start ups changing the world. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported EnsiliTech so far.”

ECOZE is an innovative carbon footprint tracker app, which shows the impact of consumers' purchases on a product-by-product basis. Each purchase tracked is a vote for a sustainable brand and the app can show the collective impact that users are having on environmental sustainability.

Founder Sam Linfield said: "We're delighted to have received recognition for all our hard work, so thank you so much to The StartUp Awards! It's been two years since ECOZE was founded, and we’ve gone from one iteration to another, trying to find the best way in which we can help the planet. Finally, it seems we are making progress, largely due to the continuous support and drive provided by the University, SETsquared Bath, and the ECOZE Board of Advisors. There is still much to achieve and impact to make, but we’re on the right path."

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, the founder of the National StartUp Awards, said: “I am delighted that three businesses from the University of Bath were winners at the South West Startup Awards. The University should be proud of their achievements in commercialising their ideas and in demonstrating the enormous entrepreneurial potential that exists within the UK higher education sector. I am sure all of them will have a real impact in their sectors over the next few years and I look forward to following their entrepreneurial journey.”

The University of Bath, under its Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programme, supports staff, students, graduates and local entrepreneurs with their enterprise ambitions. It offers a range of development and collaboration opportunities including support for start-ups, consultancy, access to expert research networks, and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

In 2022, Naturbeads, which was founded by researchers from Bath’s Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) (now the Institute for Sustainability) and Department of Chemical Engineering, along with an alumna of the School of Management, won the Manufacturing and Engineering StartUp of the Year award. They have developed a range of innovative and renewable biodegradable cellulose-based products that can be used in cosmetics, paints, coatings, additives for the oil and gas industry packaging, and composites.