On the 7th June, Arbuthnot Latham hosted their second Inspiring Innovator of the Year Awards in partnership with City University London and Bean Partners. Four finalists competed for the winning cash prize and a bespoke mentoring package from experienced entrepreneurs to help implement their business plan.

The evening began with a welcome from Paul Beach, Director of the Executive and Entrepreneurs team here at Arbuthnot Latham, to more than 90 attendees. This was followed by a brief introduction from Alex Elkins, of City University London, our compere for the evening.

Before we kicked off with the pitches we heard from last year’s runner up, Twipes, an eco – friendly, alcohol free wet wipe that is taking the markets by storm. Founders Elle McIntosh and Alborz Bozorgi were proud to announce they had recently won first prize at the 2017 London Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition, one of many accolades the pair have achieved in the past year. They expressed real appreciation that without the help of City University and meeting Arbuthnot Latham they would not be where they are today, we look forward to hearing about the continued success of Twipes in the coming months.

First up to present was Eat Chay, a vegan ‘grab and go’ food business serving up creative Vietnamese dishes that satisfy vegans, vegetarians and even the most ardent meat eaters. Their mission is for vegan food to be accessible and enjoyable for everyone. On the night they brought samples for guests to taste and proved vegan food can be just as flavoursome as other delicacies. The Eat Chay team explained that though they are both meat eaters, they understand the importance of a balanced but varied diet. They target busy working professionals who might not have time to eat lunch or dinner but want to grab something healthy on the move that not only tastes good, but is competitively priced.

Eat Chay were followed by Bombinate, a new online presence providing its customers with high quality clothing and accessories. Elliott Aeschlimano and Massimiliano Gritti, the co-founders of the company, have travelled the UK and Europe sourcing unique products from skilled craftsmen unable to connect with an online audience. By pairing the consumer and the manufacturer online Bombinate can share the story behind each brand and create long lasting customer loyalty. . The founders have been friends for over 14 years and even share a birthday, it is clear that their vision for Bombinate is equally in sync.

The Oven was next to take to the stage Founder Miguel Ortiz explained his concept of a restaurant startup incubator providing mentoring for budding restaurateurs to refine and scale their concepts in a low risk, low cost environment. They understand the struggles people face and they proved their potential by moving into the London market and opening a physical food market. They pride themselves on sustainability having used 85% recycled construction materials for the food market, using locally sourced and organic food suppliers and ensuring that at least one item from each of their stalls is suitable for vegans.

Last but not at least was Word Play, who are developing the world’s first audio news game for screenless devices. The presentation started with a twist as the presenters used an Amazon Echo to play different news clips to grab the attention of the audience. The Echo and the presenters then interacted to demonstrate how these games would work. Word Play have spotted a gap in the market with research showing that news and games are the two most popular segments of the app market but there is no crossover between them. That is where Word Play come in. The Player is immersed into an unfolding Political situation and chooses which actions to take. Each choice has resultant consequences and outcomes based on real themes in the news and will lead the player to question, or affirm, their own political beliefs.

All the pitches were complete and a live vote was casted. Whilst the presenters nervously waited for the 30 minute countdown, guests enjoyed champagne and a mix of canapés whilst questioning the presenters further.

8pm struck and all gathered to hear that the 2017 Inspiring Innovator of the Year Award went to Word Play! Both grinning ear to ear they stepped on stage to take a bow and collect their well-deserved prize from last year’s Winner, Matt Bland of Eat Safe. Though there can only be one winner there was a real buzz around the other finalists and our guests were intrigued as to how they can help all the new businesses succeed.

Paul Beach said “The Executives & Entrepreneurs Team at Arbuthnot Latham are proud to be hosting the second “Inspiring Innovator of the Year Award”. This award has been created to reward and recognise the exceptional entrepreneurial talent and spirit at City University London. For us, this is about supporting successful businesses and the leaders of tomorrow.”