Leicestershire Innovation Awards 2024: Introducing the 12 categories

December 28, 2023
min read
Leicestershire Innovation Awards 2023

Nominations for the Leicestershire Innovation Awards 2024 are now open!

The annual event recognises the brightest, most creative businesses in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Judges are interested in how businesses and organisations of all sizes are increasing productivity and growth through the introduction of new ideas.

The Awards are open to all individuals and businesses in the area.

The event is part of Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024 (LIF24).

Businesses including Horiba MIRA, Freeths, Novartis, and Exemplas have generously sponsored LIF24.

Loughborough University, University of Leicester, and De Montfort University are also festival sponsors - as well as being partners on the Awards too.

The 2024 event

Through innovations in technology, services, digital advances and creative thinking, our nominees will have made their mark over the last 12 months and accomplished outstanding things.

An awards event in March will recognise and celebrate successes achieved by local businesses and individuals.

Here are the categories for 2024 - with entries open now!

Innovation Catalyst

Are you part of the network of supporters who facilitate Leicestershire’s innovation ecosystem? Do you help make things happen? 

This category tells the story of the mentors, coaches, investors and advocates who give up their time and energy to drive our region forward.

This category tells the story of the mentors, coaches, investors and advocates who give up their time and energy to drive our region forward.

Do you know a great candidate? Nominate here.

Innovation In Creative

Almost 90% of the 2,500 businesses working in Leicester and Leicestershire’s booming creative sector employ fewer than 10 people. Yet the sector as a whole produces £700 million for the local economy annually. 

This category celebrates design and creativity ranging from small, independent digital studios to big names from the region’s textiles heritage. 

Previous winners have demonstrated how their innovative designs helped to increase sustainability, support independent living, and offer unique products to the market.

Sound like you? Nominate here.

Innovation in Education & Community

New technologies are now part and parcel of modern schooling and training. Young people are routinely taught to code from a young age. 

This category celebrates work going on in schools, colleges, and community projects to identify and support the ideas of the future. 

Previous winners have developed community assets, integrated mental health support programmes, and inspired interest in STEM subjects among young people.

Do you know a deserving project? Enter here.

Innovation in Food & Drink

Food and drink is one of the biggest sectors in Leicester and Leicestershire, worth almost £1.8billion.

It ranges from the world’s largest crisp factory to almost 4,000 microbusinesses - all of which can innovate and grow.

This category showcases how producers and manufacturers are making changes that drive productivity and accelerate growth.

Got a favourite? Nominate here.

Innovation in Med-tech & Life Sciences

Leicestershire is home to the UK’s first Life Science Opportunity Zone. The wider sector accounts for more than 14,000 local jobs. 

Medicines and technology discovered in our region are changing the way people live their lives for the better. 

This category celebrates innovators whose work is enabling people to overcome health challenges.

Are you making a difference? Nominate here.

Innovation in STEM Industries

More than 81,000 jobs in our region are in advanced manufacturing and engineering. 

These innovators are providing highly innovative technical solutions to real world opportunities and challenges. 

This category recognises how STEM businesses of all sizes are bringing new products to market - and building the future.

Know someone doing great things? Nominate here.

Innovation in Space

Leicester and Leicesershire’s aerospace and satellite technology sector has the potential to be worth £500million by 2030. It is pulling in investment from around the world. 

This category celebrates those working on ground-breaking research and technology.

Previous finalists have shown innovation in satellites, mapping, air quality management and more.

Got a great Space story? Nominate here.

Innovation in Sport, Wellbeing and Accessibility

Sport is a huge part of the region’s brand, with 1,245 local businesses - many of them with no more than 10 employees. 

Health remains a significant employer, producing more than £1.8 billion for the economy and employing more than 55,000 people. 

This category recognises changes being made to help keep our region’s people fit, healthy and active. 

It could be anything from innovative projects in schools to new community outreach programmes at sports clubs, to new intervention pilots in clinical settings.

Helping to scale participation? Nominate here.

Innovation in Sustainability

The Low Carbon sector in Leicester and Leicestershire is growing. Wind energy is the largest specialism but there is also work going on in hydrogen technology and more. 

This category recognises work being done in taking new Low Carbon products and services to market - but also initiatives to cut waste, integrate renewable technology, and find new ways of managing energy consumption.

Are you cutting waste? Nominate here.

University Student Innovation

Leicester and Leicestershire’s three universities have been encouraging young innovators for decades.

The specialisms on offer are wide and there is significant opportunity for integrating R&D into business through our region’s incubators and KTP programmes.

This category celebrates the work of graduate start-ups, spin-outs, researchers and more.

Developing a great startup? Nominate here.

Innovator of the Year

Each year at the Leicestershire Innovation Awards, an idea, product or service emerges that has the potential to revolutionise a particular sector and change the way we live our lives. 

This award will be presented to a category finalist who has achieved something that is truly unique - whether they have already bought it to market or are in the process of doing so. 

This is a closed category with no nomination process - the winner will be chosen by our judges.

Outstanding Contribution Award

The Outstanding Contribution Award is a special accolade recognising an individual who has achieved the rare distinction of inspiring and delivering innovation repeatedly over the course of their career.

Previous winners have included health researcher Professor Kamlesh Khunti CBE, Richard Freeman of precision optics expert Zeeko and Professor Sir Alec Jeffries, inventor of DNA fingerprinting.

This is a closed category with no nomination process, the winner will be chosen by our judges.

Enter Leicestershire Innovation Awards 2024

Get involved with Innovative Leicestershire

Collaboration is fundamental to achieving our goals. If you are interested in becoming part of what we are doing then there are a host of ways to get involved, from attending an event to relocating your organisation.

Innovative Leicestershire team