The awards are judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts, the judging is a rigorous two-stage process including pre-scoring to determine shortlists and a judging meeting where entries are discussed and evaluated in detail to decide the winning entries.

From a transparency perspective, we may video aspects of the judging session to show on the evening and give entrants an insight into why a winning entry was chosen.

The 2020 judging panel is as follows:

Mo Aldalou | Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for North West | Tech Nation

Mo Aldalou is Entrepreneur Engagement Manager (EEM) for the North West at Tech Nation, the Government-backed growth platform for tech companies and leaders. Tech Nation fuels the growth of game-changing founders, leaders and scaling tech companies so they can positively transform societies and economies. A former business and technology journalist with more than 8 years of experience in the UK and Dubai, Mo is passionate about championing and supporting a network of ambitious tech founders and entrepreneurs across the North West region.

Rik Barker | CIO - UK and Ireland | Flutter

Rik has been in software development in one form or another for over 20 years. Initially working as a developer, tech lead and development manager on desktop software, before moving to focus on how to develop tech teams and Web technology. Rik joined Web Agency Technophobia in Sheffield as the Head of Production and progressed to Technical Director and then CTO after a restructure and acquisition. Rik joined Sky Betting & Gaming during a period of extreme growth, as the business moved from under Sky ownership into a VC backed private ownership model. Over the next five and a half years, Rik was heavily involved in scaling the business, the teams and the technology, and investing in the culture to support the growth. Initially joining as the Head of Gaming Technology and working in several areas of the business, Rik has spent the last two years as CTO, overseeing the organisation as it transitioned back into group ownership through two acquisitions. In September, Rik moved to take on the role of CIO for UK and Ireland for the combined Flutter group, running technology across Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Betting & Gaming. In all roles, Rik focuses on building high performing teams and developing people and has always taken a people-first approach to building software.

Laura Bartlett | Founder | House of CoCo

Laura Bartlett is the award winning founding editor and publisher of global magazine House of Coco, sold all over the world as well as in store at Harrods and Selfridges. Having built this business in her tweeties with zero investment from the ground up, Laura is a leading voice for young female entrepreneurs and a larger than life example of failure breeding strength. Laura is a #girlboss with a passion for speaking, inspiring and motivating others to be the best possible versions of themselves. Laura is passionate about encouraging all readers, but especially millennials to live their best lives, to take risks to follow their dreams and be in control of living on their terms.

Gavin Barton | Chief Technology Officer | Booking.com

Gavin is the CTO at Booking.com Transport where he has overall accountability for the technology in the Ground Transport business unit of Booking.com and running Rentalcars.com, the world's largest online car rental service. Gavin started out as a developer in a family business over 25 years ago, since then he has worked and led in technology across Aerospace, Sports Gaming, Telecoms, Transport, Automotive, Travel and Digital sectors. Gavin joined Booking.com Transport in 2015 and has driven the technology transformation of the business to an agile product organisation whilst modernising the technology platforms guided by two key principles “cloud by default” and “you build it, run it & own it”. It isn’t all about agile engineering and transformation for Gavin, he is also an active supporter of grass root talent having shaped and launched talent initiatives such as our apprenticeship programmes and mentoring programmes and is now looking to start community outreach programmes.

Liam Bateman | CTO | Silverchip

CTO And software developer, Liam has over 15years experience in the digital industry, working with some of the UK's leading companies and brands. In 2010, with his friend and business partner, he co-founded Silverchip, an award-winning digital agency in the heart of Manchester, boasting an impressive client list and being renowned for its bespoke software development. Liam is extremely passionate about the importance of developing a ‘real-world curriculum’ within schools and colleges, working alongside students and young people to provide opportunities and routes into the sector.

Martin Bryant | Technology Consultant, Speaker, Writer and Educator

Martin Bryant is a consultant, speaker, writer, and educator in the fields of technology and media. He works to help technology companies craft a narrative around their products and business. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of international technology publication The Next Web, and Community Editor at Tech North, where he shone a light on the stories of startups and entrepreneurs in the North of England.

Graham Cunningham | Head of Digital | NWF Fuels

Graham has a passion for all things digital, and that really comes through in the way he approaches his work. After spending almost a decade at a blue-chip data company in the financial services sector, he moved into the construction industry, where he crafted and implemented a range of digital disruption strategies to shake up a highly traditional marketplace. Driven by a data-oriented approach and a focus on user experience, Graham has a proven track record for developing, tracking, and optimising digital marketing channels and platforms across web, email, social media, marketing automation and CRM. Following on from a successful spell in the construction sector, Graham then switched to fuel distribution and currently heads up the digital programme at NWF Fuels, the UK’s third largest distributor of commercial, domestic and agricultural fuels.

Lawrence Dudley | Co-founder & Director | Parallax

Lawrence co-founded Parallax with three friends back in 2010. Fast forward a decade and the Leeds-based digital transformation agency has gone from strength to strength. Now a team of 30, Parallax has an international portfolio including the likes of Amazon, NASA and British Airways. Lawrence has been instrumental to the company’s growth, with a keen eye on how to best use technology to solve key business problems. Recent projects have included the development of internet-enabled street lighting, electric vehicle charging software and more.

Richard Gregory | Digital Director & Non Exec | NED

Richard is chairman of tech companies Ruler Analytics and Ash.tv, non-exec director of Fluid Digital and co-founder of SAScon - a digital marketing conference. Heralding from “Silicon Ramsbottom” he is an ardent supporter of the digital and tech industry in the North of England. Previously, Richard was the managing director of digital agency Latitude, director of Tech North and Manchester Digital council member. With 20 years of digital expertise, Richard now advises agencies and start-ups on marketing and growth strategies.

Marcus Hadfield | Chief Strategy Officer | Apadmi

With over twenty years’ experience in digital and brand marketing, he’s delivered award-winning campaigns across every discipline and most sectors. In 2017, he jumped into the mobile world, and since then has helped clients get more out of their technology offering. He now splits his time between leading on strategy for Apadmi’s clients and working with Apadmi Ventures to identify and support the highly scalable tech start-ups they work with. Clients have included Expedia, Argos, Costa, United Utilities, American Airlines, Cross-country Trains, Which?, Homebase, Co-op, Aldi, World Vision and more.

Jamie Hinton | CEO | Razor

Jamie is CEO and Co-Founder of Razor. He is first and foremost a ‘techy’, but one who can translate the complex world of software development into language that everyone else can understand. Jamie has a long history in software engineering and a proven track record in translating business opportunities into living, breathing software that delivers real value. He has architected solutions for blue chip companies and large financial institutions including, Alfa Romeo, Co-Operative Bank, HCCi and Dyson. Jamie now applies his development thinking and extensive passion for technology to fuel the growth of Razor.

Dr David J Hardman MBE | Managing Director | Bruntwood SciTech - Birmingham

David’s career over the last twenty-five years has been in knowledge transfer; working at the interface between applied research and commercial application and exploitation. His expertise and interests are directed at creating appropriate partnerships and infrastructures to promote the development and success of cross sectorial knowledge-based businesses. He started out as a PhD microbiologist, with research interests in the application of microbes in what is now described as ‘clean technology’. In 1992 co-founded and led a start-up biotech venture and this experience developed into a wider interest in the translation of science into good and applicable technologies. In 1998 David moved to the Babraham Institute, Cambridge to establish and lead a wholly owned trading subsidiary, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd. focused on the development of the commercial aspects of the Babraham Research Campus. In 2008 he moved to Birmingham developing and implementing a new strategy to build on the legacy of Aston Science Park. The result is the Innovation Birmingham Campus; an urban focal point promoting digital innovation and adoption across all sectors. In 2018 the Campus became part of Bruntwood SciTech to create a focal point for a thriving innovation district in Birmingham. David was awarded an MBE for ‘contributions to science’ in 2009.

Mark Kuhillow | Founder | R.O.EYE

Starting his career on 1994, Marks media roots are firmly planted within the offline direct response world, moving online in 1999. Seeing the opportunity to apply a digital direct response agency model to affiliate and performance marketing campaigns, Mark founded R.O.EYE in 2004. Now seen as the largest specialist in its sector, R.O.EYE counts the likes of HMV, Best Western and Jessops amongst its clients.

Stefan Lewis | Head of eCommerce and Digital Marketing | Represent Clothing

In my early teen years I grew fond of digital design and media. Through school I focused on being a creative, choosing graphic design form college and graduating The University of Salford with a First Class Honors degree in Graphic Design. Throughout this course I worked with my friends on building a fashion brand heavily focused on design and marketed through the rise of facebook and instagram. This project enabled me to grow at a fast rate through self teaching alongside the brand. 5 years later I am head of Commerce and Digital Marketing at that very same brand, Represent Clo. Currently I manage 3 digital advertising and marketers and a ux software team whilst handing digital content, ecom content and working heavily on strategy with the founders, George & Michael Heaton. The brand has grown significantly since we began in 2012. With over 200 retail stores and an 8 figure turnover ecommence platform through Shopify. I’ve sat at the forefront of the digital landscape throughout this time, and have been instrumental in the business growth. We strive for high-end perfection at an affordable price point, whilst maintaining the brand’s unique look and specific market identity.

Shilpa Lindley | Head of Digital | Together

Results-driven, insightful and pragmatic Digital leader with a proven track record of success gained in senior roles in both a start-up environment as well as complex blue-chip organisations. Almost 20 years of Digital experience combined with a sharp commercial focus as a result of a background in trading and yield management. A strong leader, with the ability to inspire people and manage performance across a range of disciplines, encouraging passion, fun and commitment to achieve company goals, whilst always putting the customer at the centre. I specialise in helping organisations to get started or deliver a step change in their Digital capabilities and performance. Typically this will include Digital Strategy and Vision , Educating key stakeholders and leadership, helping to gain buy in to get investment, Organisational Design,, Digital profitability, Delivery of Change (including Transformation) and setting up of ongoing correct MI & routines. Currently working at Together Money, Responsible for all aspects of Digital across the Business from setting the Strategy, Building the team, Digital Marketing/ Trading, Website Development, Social Media, and User Experience and Product Ownership for Digital Transformation. All underpinned with robust Tracking, Insights and Analytics and the latest UX & Design techniques to create the perfect mix of Art & Science.

Davina Lines | Managing Director | Ecommerce Club & Mixing Digital

Davina Lines is Managing Director of Mixing Digital and the Ecommerce Club. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a big black book of digital contacts to ensure Mixing Digital’s event management services are of the highest standard. Davina co-founded Netimperative in 1999 and became Managing Director in 2002, stewarding the brand into new product launches and creating one of the most successful events programmes in the digital marketing industry. In the mid 90s Davina cut her digital teeth on New Media Age (now Econsultancy), forming part of the founding team and was responsible for the commercial development of the magazine and its early events from launch in May 1995 to 1999. In recent years Davina launched an ecommerce peer-to-peer community, the Ecommerce Club, which runs regular events in London and Manchester on topics relevant to the retail community.

Alexandra Morris | Managing Director | MakeUrMove

Alexandra is 36-years old and has led her national PropTech company, MakeUrMove, through a series of innovative changes by adopting and embracing advances in technology. She started as the first employee of MakeUrMove in 2008, initially as customer service advisor before progressing to Operations Director and finally, Managing Director in June 2017. Alex joined the board of MakeUrMove aged just 24 and has risen through the ranks to shape the future direction of the technology platform, with only basic computer skills in the beginning she set her mind to understanding software and web development and how it can be utilised to build award winning solutions and deliver outstanding service. In February 2020 she was announced as the Tech Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 in recognition of her work at MakeUrMove and the wider industry. Alex’s experience as a woman in business, and in particular in the property and tech industries, shape her ethos today. She’s proud to have grown a business organically and to have led the growth and development on a digital first basis, something which is paying off as MakeUrMove is able to adapt quickly by offering a leading in-house built software and removing dependency on outside parties, unlike their competitors. Alex is a Member of the ARLA Propertymark (MARLA). She is passionate about giving back and mentors a number of local businesses and students in Manchester with a strong focus on promoting the industry to more women, paving the way for a stronger and more diverse future. Spare time is spent with family, embracing a life-work balance raising three children is a key priority and she enjoys long walks with them and the family dogs at the weekend. She is also studying part time with the Open University for a law degree with just one year to go and is aiming for an ambitious first class honours.

Erin Portsmouth  | Director of Corporate Affairs | Oldham Cares

Erin is a Chartered public relations practitioner who started her career in private sector marketing and communications consultancies, but for the past eleven years has worked in the National Health Service. She is currently Director of Corporate Affairs at NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group where she oversees a portfolio including communications, engagement, public affairs, equality and diversity, organisational development and governance. She has a Masters degree in public relations, and served on the Chartered Institute of Public Relations North West Group Committee as a volunteer for ten years, also holding a three year term as Chair. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees of homelessness charity Emmaus Salford in 2017.

Matt Read | Director of Social Media | GSMA

Matt Read is the Director of Social Media at the GSMA. An award-winning social & content strategist with over 12 years of experience in the industry, Matt's innovative approach to social media marketing and relentless drive to stay ahead of the game has afforded him many opportunities to create forward-thinking strategies for some of the world's leading brands and organisations.

James Toothill | Chief Technology Officer | Machine Compare

James is the CTO at Machine Compare, a leading marketplace for industrial machinery and spare parts. Combining years of hands-on industry knowledge with the very best in technology, Machine Compare is revolutionising the B2B sector thanks to its easy to use platforms that allow organisations to better preview, plan and purchase machinery and spare parts , generating huge cost savings and business efficiencies. James started as an e-commerce developer 16 years ago and will talk for hours about the three main concepts he believes are the secret tools for success in e-commerce development, speed, usability, and on-site SEO

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