We recently had the chance to attend the 7th annual BritWeek Business Innovation Awards for the first time. Held at the stunning InterContinental Los Angeles hotel just minutes from Beverly Hills’ famed Rodeo Drive. The Business Innovation Awards celebrates outstanding achievement and innovation, recognizing companies that represent the best in the world’s “Axis of Innovation” between California and the United Kingdom. Come along as we share our experience attending this incredible award show.
Upon checking in, we made our way inside the cocktail reception prior to the Awards, mingling and enjoying light hors d’oeuvre and cocktails. As we waited for the Grand Ballroom to open to guests, we spotted several space-like seats on the far right hand corner. Curious, we approached to get a closer look and were told by the lovely gals from Air New Zealand that the space-like seats were actually a display of the airline’s innovative seat designs for their Economy Plus seating. Many guests took this time to try out the New Zealand Airline seats and take selfies there.
Right at 7pm, the doors were opened to the grand ballroom, and guests began to move to their assigned tables. Every table had a gorgeous, elegant setting with lovely white and yellow roses centerpiece to complete the tablescape. Greeted with our starter, an Asparagus Salad featuring radish, pancetta, Manchego, pine nuts, golden pea shoot and a miso crème fraiche. White or red wines were offered.
- Andy Bird CBE (Chairman for Walt Disney International)
- Andy Puddicombe (Presenter, Writer, Meditation and Mindfulness expert, Voice of all things Headspace)
- Sir Ken Robinson (Internationally recognized authority in creativity and innovation in education and business)
- Sophia Watts (British film and media executive, President of STX Entertainment)
- Arnold Schwartzman OBE RDI (Renowned Graphic designer and Documentary Filmmaker)
First category up for a BritWeek award was in the category Business Services. A snippet of the different nominees in this category was shown on a large projector so we could see the new initiatives and innovations from all the nominees. The finalists were:
- Crowdfunder: Crowdfunding platform that connects entrepreneurs with investors around the world to help fund their business.
- Soampli: award-winning web and mobile platform helps companies harness the power of their advocates to generate sale and awareness.
- Scorestream: Real time platform for crowdsourcing scores and photos of local sporting events.
During a brief intermission, our main course arrived, where we treated to a delicious seared New Zealand Salmon, braised Fennel & new potatoes in a orange Pernod broth along with an Apple & Radish Salad and Fennel Essence.
The show resumed moments later as we were again shown the works of the finalists in the Social Impact category. The finalists in this category included:
- 11 Health: Offers Ostomy care and monitoring products that send alerts to a Smartphone, Apple Watch or pad.
- Playmob: Proven cause marketing platform that enhances consumer engagement and monetization for digital products by employing gaming techniques that link online actions to charity, nudging behavior and rewarding goal delivery.
- Trackcel, LTD: Clinical Orchestration Platform designed to efficiently safeguard patients and orchestrate processes across regenerative and cell-based therapies.
It was after the Social Impact category that host Daniel Rutstein encouraged guests to take out their phones and be part of the live voting to vote on which company should take the Best of Britain & Northern Ireland Award. Finalist in the Social Impact category were:
- Squawka: Web-based second screen platform for viewers of live televised sport that provides consumers with both real time statistics on the matches and players they are watching alongside social chat.
- Ionex SG LLC: Develops products that incorporate innovative electrochemical and catalytic technologies to abate toxic and environmentally harmful contaminants.
- Digital Shadows: Provides cyber situational awareness that helps organizations protect again cyber attacks, loss of intellectual property, and loss of brand reputational integrity.
Having only a minute to text our vote, we quickly looked at our program to get a bit more information on each finalist in the category. It was definitely a hard one as all the companies have created some amazing innovations. Seriously, we don’t think we’ve ever had to make a decision as quickly or send a text as fast as we did than during the live voting.
To end the unique dining experience, we were presented with a trio of mini desserts, which featured an Apple and Rhubarb Pie, Chocolate & Passionfruit Mousse and a Strawberry Crème Fraiche Shortcake. The trio was paired with the choice of coffee or tea. Our favorite was the mouthwatering Passionfruit Mousse. Yum!
As we polished off our desserts, we were shown the live voting results for Best of Britain & Northern Ireland Award. The company, Squawka took the lead with 43% of the votes. The ultimate winner of the Best of Britain & Northern Ireland Award was… drumroll… SQUAWKA
One of the highlights of the night was the wonderful Q&A moderated by Nigel Lynthgoe (So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol) with BritWeek Entrepreneur of the Year, Simon Fuller. As the highly successful Business and Entertainment Executive made his way up the stage, he was welcomed with a standing ovation for his tremendous contribution and impact on pop culture. Now for those unfamiliar with Simon Fuller, he is the creator of the Idol Franchise (i.e Pop Idol & American Idol) and co-creator & executive producer of So You Think You can Dance. His management company, XIX Entertainment, has been behind some of the biggest music icons including the Spice Girls, Annie Lennox, Amy Winehouse and Carrie Underwood.
During the Q&A, Fuller shared how his management company XIX Entertainment came to be, how he launched the Spice Girls in the music market in Japan first, his movement into the fashion world with Fashion labels Victoria Beckham and Roland Mouret, and why he loves LA so much. For an aspiring entrepreneur, Fuller’s tremendously successful career is awe-inspiring and offers the encouragement to pursue our dreams.
The second to last category was all about Innovation in Technology. The finalists in the category were:
- Drawbridge: Leading anonymous cross-device technology company that enables brands to have streamless conversations with consumers across their connected devices.
- Emailage: Provides intelligent fraud risk assessment using email address as the key data element to identity transactional risk and streamline approvals.
- The Mill: Leading creator of seamless visual effects
And finally the last prize of the night was in the category Best Springboard. Nominees in this category were:
- Tastemade: A video network built for the mobile generation.
- Kin Community: A global leader in women’s lifestyle, empowering lifestyle creators around the world to do what they love.
- FriendBuy: A customer referral platform.
WINNER: KIN COMMUNITY
Ending the night was American Idol winner (Season XV) Trent Harmon, who closed the fabulous Awards with a live performance, including his amazing rendition of Sia’s Chandelier. If it was possible, Harmon’s voice is even more incredible in person.
With a few parting words, Rutstein closed the BritWeek Business Innovation Awards. Guests took this time to mingle and congratulate and take photos with the winners and just mingle with each other. We only had a chance to meet Simon Fuller briefly because many of the other guests were also trying to grab his attention, but he was incredibly gracious. We also got to meet and talk to Trent Harmon, who was a complete sweetheart, even posing to take a photo. Can’t wait to see his future success.
On our way out of the Awards, we received a gift bag filled with British treats and drinks, as well as a few gifts from the sponsors of the event. We can’t wait to try some of the fun British snacks in our bag.
We want to send a special thank you to the Bloggerbabes & BritWeek for the wonderful invite. Getting the opportunity to share in the celebration of global innovation and see the fantastic, progress-changing work of some of the world’s leading companies was a once in a lifetime experience we definitely won’t ever forget.
To learn more about BritWeek and upcoming events head over to www.britweek.org