This year’s regional finals for The Spectator’s Economic Innovator of the Year Awards kicked off with a fascinating session in a private dining room of the boutique hotel One Aldwych. We managed to pack representatives of all 12 finalists (chosen from 90-plus entrants for the region round one table, plus guest judges Paul Abberley (CEO of our sponsor, Charles Stanley Wealth Managers) and former Award winner Jonny Ohlson of Touchlight, the pioneering DNA manufacturer. With entrants ranging across the healthcare, fintech, food, energy and education sectors, as well as social media and high-tech engineering — and only around eight minutes for each to present and answer questions — the judges faced a formidable task. And of course the final choice of winners has to be subjective rather than scientific. But all the presentations were clear and concise — and there were several conversations across the table suggesting possible synergies between entrants in related business fields. So, as always, we hope participants gain from the networking opportunities as well as the accolade of being selected as finalists — and we hope Spectator readers and podcast listeners will take a few minutes to explore their websites and products.