Economic Innovator of the Year Awards

In partnership with Julius Baer

Economic Innovator of the Year 2020

In this extraordinary year, innovation is more important than ever. Human progress and problem-solving has always depended on innovators, and in response to the coronavirus pandemic entrepreneurs are already making vital contributions in bioscience, data analytics, logistics and digital communications – just as, in happier times, the online auction, home-stay, ride-share and crowdfunding pioneers created new markets, to the great benefit of consumers and society at large.

Which are the companies that will rewrite the rules and help rebuild the economy in 2020 and beyond? The Spectator and Julius Baer have come together once again to celebrate creative entrepreneurship across the UK. Julius Baer, founded in Zurich in 1890 and now a fast expanding player in the UK wealth management scene, has an instinctive sympathy with business-builders that bring new thinking and positive change to established markets.

Entrants for these awards are innovators from every corner of the UK. The potential winners are passionate about their products, financially resilient, looking to the future beyond the pandemic and determined to make a positive contribution to human wellbeing. We’re seeking four regional winners, and we have asked high-profile judges in each region to help us choose them. We’ll also make a special award for outstanding social impact. The winners will be named at a gala online event in November and will be invited to join The Spectator’s elite private dining club of business leaders, as well as benefiting from the extensive media coverage that these awards generate.

Our judging panel includes representatives of The Spectator and Julius Baer together with:

For London and the South East: Priya Lakhani OBE, founder of the pioneering edutech venture Century which was our 2019 overall winner; and Charles Watson, chairman of the Island Initiative.

For the Midlands and North East: veteran Yorkshire industrialist and venture capitalist Gordon Black; serial entrepreneur turned Newcastle Business School chair Caroline Theobald; and Clive Bawden, entrepreneurship consultant and COO of 2018 regional winner Warwick Music.

For the West and South West: Hugh Campbell, founding partner of tech investment bank GP Bullhound; and Angela Spindler Luger, non exec director of New Look, ScS and Portmeirion Group and former CEO of online clothing retailer N Brown.

For Scotland and Northern Ireland: Irene McAleese, founder-director of Northern Ireland based 2018 regional winner See.Sense; and veteran Scottish tech start-up adviser/investor Ian Ritchie.

We are delighted to showcase the finalists of this year’s Economic Innovator of the Year Awards, in partnership with Julius Baer, ahead of our first-ever virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday 25 November.

Tune into Spectator TV on Wednesday 25 November at 7.45 p.m. to watch live as we announce the winners of the Economic Innovator of the Year 2020.

The shortlist of regional and social impact finalists can be seen here.

If you would like to contact us, please email

Economic Innovator of the Year 2020

2019 Regional Finalist Profiles

2018 Regional Finalist Profiles

Economic Innovator of the Year 2020