Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Iawards Will Promote Innovation In British Business

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson and entrepreneur James Caan today called on the UK’s best innovators to put themselves forward for the iawards -  the first ever Government backed-awards to celebrate achievements in science, innovation and technology - to get the recognition they deserve. Their call to action comes as a new survey shows that businesses believe British innovators are unsung heroes whose contribution to making Britain a better place to live and work often goes unnoticed.

The survey, commissioned by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, reveals that more than nine in ten business leaders agreed that giving employees recognition will drive entrepreneurship in the workplace.

The survey also found that nearly half (43 per cent) of senior executives surveyed across the UK believe that UK organisations are good at supporting innovative business areas and ideas. While this shows a strong foundation from which innovation can thrive, more must be done to promote the skills and spirit which are essential for shaping Britain’s future in the global economy.

Views on the best way to achieve this vary; the research reveals 63 per cent of business leaders polled feel that open communication to discuss new ideas will encourage greater innovation from their employees. Less than half (43 per cent) would consider implementing innovation sessions, whilst a third (36 per cent) would offer cash or stock option incentives.

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said:

“Businesses are doing a great job in developing the innovations that will drive the country out of recession. It's time to recognise and honour our best innovators - those who are creating the successful companies of tomorrow. The iawards will do just that - not just in these extraordinary times we find ourselves in, but for years to come. Make sure to get your entries in by 16 September 2009 to take part in this inaugural year.”

Leading entrepreneur and businessman James Caan said:

“The economic downturn presents an opportunity to transform UK business and create a positive climate for the creation of new innovations. Some of the world’s most successful companies, including Microsoft, were conceived during a recession. The UK has some of the greatest minds in the world and thanks to the existing efforts of our entrepreneurs SMEs still make up more than 55 per cent of UK GDP. They must be encouraged and recognised for their work. I firmly believe that businesses who focus their energy on nurturing the talent available to them can lead the UK out of the recession. This is why I support the iawards, a long awaited opportunity to fully celebrate and recognise the strength of science, technology and innovation in the UK.”

The iwards includes 13 categories which are open to all organisations, but all entrants must specify the British involvement in any innovation - demonstrating that innovative thinking and development came from a British organisation or team.

The awards categories reflect the greatest challenges we face as a country where science and innovation offer the best chance of developing viable solutions. Each entry must demonstrate how its innovative qualities relate to at least one of the following challenges:

· Addressing the healthcare needs of an ageing society;

· Increasing international security from tackling global poverty to minimising the threat of terrorism;

· Preserving finite natural resources in the face of population growth and climate change; and

· Delivering public services which make best use of new technologies.

They must also demonstrate that the innovation has an impact on one of the Government’s grand challenges for science.

The iawards in association with QinetiQ are run by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Siemens sponsor the ‘Next Big Thing' category and Microsoft sponsor the best technology start up category.

UK Trade & Investment, the government organisaton which helps British companies win business in new markets, will work with the winning companies to help them find new potential business opportunities and partnerships. In addition to this, the winners will be invited to attend key industry events such as the giant Medica trade fair in Germany and TechnologyWorld in Coventry this autumn.

Science and technology has been a driving force behind Britain’s export success. Exports for life sciences, for example, rose 19% in 2008. Innovation is also important in keeping the UK as the number one destination for inward investment in Europe. UKTI statistics show that the number of investment projects in creative industries increased by 65% in 2008/9 and in software and computer services by 36%.

For more information, and to enter, visit The closing date for entries is 16 September. The iawards gala dinner will take place at the Science Museum, November 16, 2009.

Notes to editors

Survey note:

ICM interviewed a random sample of 307 GB business decision makers via online between 12th – 17th August 2009.  Surveys were conducted across the country.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at

To enter and for full information on the categories and judging criteria visit

The awards will be judged by a high profile, cross industry, judging panel led by James Caan. Full panel to be announced shortly.

About the Department for Business Innovation & Skills 

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will promote open and competitive markets, proportionate regulation, an enterprise and innovation culture, skilled people, thriving universities, life-long learning and world-class science, technology and research.

About James Caan

James Caan (formerly Nazim Khan, born 1960) is a British entrepreneur of Pakistani origin from Lahore. He is CEO of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw and has been building and selling businesses since 1985. In October 2007, Caan joined the panel of the fifth series of BBC Two's Dragons' Den. His successes include Alexander Mann, Humana International and AMS. Hamilton Bradshaw specialises in buyouts, venture capital, turnarounds, real estate investments and development in both the UK and Europe, investing up to £10 million in each individual transaction.

About UK Trade & Investment (UKTI):

UK Trade & Investment is the UK Government's international business development organisation, supporting businesses seeking to establish in the UK and helping UK companies grow internationally. The services offered by UK Trade & Investment bring together a network of business sector specialists and support teams across England and in British diplomatic posts in some 100 markets all around the world. UK Trade & Investment works with a wide range of partner organisations in the UK, including other Government departments, RDAs and the Devolved Administrations, Business Links, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations.  For more information, visit the web site at Visit the online newsroom at   

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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