The #21toWatch Campaign and Awards

People, companies and the ‘things’ they create, across Cambridge and the East of England are setting the standards in innovation and entrepreneurship across the globe. #21toWatch is a dedicated campaign to showcase and highlight the maybe lesser known, recognising those exciting new entries across all market sectors, and celebrating the very best work going on today in the region. With such diversity and ingenuity amongst the #21toWatch cohort, the attributes each submission is assessed on are Innovation, Challenge, Influence, Viability and Memorability.

We collate a list of the people, the companies and the ‘things’ throughout the year – these are the key dates you need to know. The longlists are updated on a rolling basis, with a nomination window open between 1st November until the second Wednesday in January each year, the shortlist is announced at the start of February, with the annual#21toWatch Top21 unveiled in a unique event the first Thursday in March (please note the scheduled event for 2020 was postponed due to COVID-19 and will now run as a live broadcast on Tuesday 9th June).

To read about the Top21.2020, please download the brochure that goes alongside the broadcast.

Many on our list (not just the Top21!) have gone on to achieve great things, including enhanced promotions, additional investment, new clients and a variety of other opportunities. Our sponsors and partners also view the cofinitive #21toWatch campaign as a key investment for them as they support new ventures and opportunities.

The Lists

The 21toWatch Lists

The annual list are divided into three categories – The People, The Companies, The ‘Things’. Click on the boxes below to see the 2020 cohort (entries closed 31st January 2020). Please note that these lists are updated regularly, and new entries are showcased across social media channels using #21toWatch.

As the shortlist is announced in February, those companies will be marked as such on the list, and after the awards ceremony, the winning #21toWatch will also be marked.

Meet the Winners #21toWatch in focus

The #21toWatch Top21.2020 have now been announced so each week we will be highlighting one of the winners. Each year over 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally. Fotis, cofounder of Better Origin, is one to watch for his work pioneering the transformation of organic waste into high-quality functional animal feed.

To view the complete 2019 longlist, please follow this link.


Be or nominate the #21toWatch

If you would like to submit a person, company or ‘thing’ to the #21toWatch list, please complete this form and we’ll be in touch to confirm receipt and next steps.

Everyone who successfully qualifies for the longlist, shortlist, and Top21 will all receive a promotional icon to use in their own communications.
You can also email us at 21toWatch@cofinitive.com, and don’t forget to join the discussion via @Cofinitive #21toWatch

The deadline for the current cohort closed on January 31st 2020 – any submissions after this date will be considered for the 2021 listing.

Sponsors & Partners

Thank you to our sponsors and partners

We are proud to be supported by a range of sponsors and partners who share our ambition of showcasing the #21toWatch and the longlists that identify them.

Interested in Sponsoring?

Fill in the form to download our sponsor brochure here.


Our 2020 judges

All nominations to the annual longlist are then triaged down to a shortlist, assessed on five criteria – Innovation, Challenge, Influence, Viability and Memorability; as well as being financially assessed through the Companies House service and their investment status on Crunchbase.

A shortlist is then provided to an independent set of judges who will select the top seven from each of the three categories that will make up the #21toWatch Top21.2020

Each year the judges will rotate (2019 judges – Priya Guha, Merian Ventures; Bill Thompson, Technology Journalist; Dr Shima Barakat, Entrepreneur and academic; and Simon Mead, CW) to maintain diversity and inclusivity.

Our 2020 judges are:

  • Isabel Fox General Partner & Co-Founder Luminous Ventures188

    Isabel Fox

    General Partner Luminous Ventures

  • Bruno Cotta 188

    Bruno Cotta

    Executive Director Cambridge Judge Business School's Entrepreneurship Centre

  • Siddhi Trivedi 188

    Siddhi Trivedi

    Entrepreneur and multi-award-winning disruptor

  • TechEast - Tim Robinson 188

    Tim Robinson

    Chief Operating Officer Tech East


Interested in attending as a guest?

The longlist is available to anyone who wishes to view it – call it part of our pay-it-forward work to ensure those that qualify on the longlist achieve as much as exposure as possible.

Due to the obvious extenuating circumstances, the usual March event was delayed and the announcement was made as a live broadcast on 9th June (click the video on this page to view).

If you would like to attend next years event, please get in touch 21toWatch@cofinitive.com