Spectator Briefings

Innovator of the Year Awards: Manufacturing and Engineering

38 min listen

In This Episode

Every year, The Spectator travels the country in search of the best and boldest new companies that are disrupting their respective industries. In a series of five podcasts, we will tell you about the finalists for 2023’s Innovator of the Year Awards, sponsored by Investec. The awards winners will be announced in a prize ceremony in November.

This episode will be focusing on the manufacturing and engineering category. Some of the nominees have found novel uses for old materials, often finding a much more sustainable way of producing things. A couple of them use cutting edge engineering – including graphene, a miracle material rediscovered right here in the UK, by the University of Manchester. Britain is, of course, the home of the industrial revolution. These modern homegrown champions are keeping that legacy alive.

Martin Vander Weyer, The Spectator’s business editor, judges the awards and hosts this podcast along with three other judges: Gabriel Fysh, entrepreneur and Director at Transcend Packaging, a former winner of the awards; Ian Ritchie CBE, an engineer and entrepreneur, who sits on the board of a number of companies in Scotland and in the IT and engineering sphere; and Michelle White, co-head of Investec’s private office.

The finalists in this category are:

  • The Cheeky Panda, which makes tissue and hygiene products from bamboo.
  • THIS™, which makes meaty-tasting plant-based foods, from sausages to chicken.
  • QLM Technology Ltd, which has invented a quantum gas lidar technology to detect greenhouse gases.
  • MacRebur Limited, which uses waste plastic to replace bitumen in road surfacing.
  • Partful, which helps manufacturers with an end-to-end repair process by locating components and parts.
  • Graphene Innovations Manchester, which aims to replace highly-emitting cement with graphene in construction.
  • Equipmake, which produces ultra-high-performance electric motors, power systems and vehicle drivetrains.
  • Paragraf, which mass produces graphene-based electronic devices using standard semiconductor processes.


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