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From Clean Tech Startups to Entrepreneurial Ex-Offenders, Meet the UK's 2017 Creator Award Winners

Picture of Claire Lancaster
Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor
Updated: 18 September 2017
Co-working company WeWork is awarding more than £14.8m ($20m) to emerging designers and entrepreneurs in cities all around the world as part of its year-long awards programme, the Creator Awards.

Supporting talented individuals and organisations in the creative industries, the first Creator Award event took place in Washington D.C. in March, and was followed by events in Detroit, MI and Austin, TX.

Last week London hosted the UK Creator Awards, where more than £1.5m was awarded to 19 UK-based companies that are ‘changing the world’. Creator Award ceremonies in Berlin, Mexico City and Tel Aviv will follow later this year. The top winners in each region will then compete at the Global Creator Awards in New York City on November 30.

‘The Creator Awards is not just about pitching and connecting, it’s about entering a city and changing the reality of that city, which is what we love to do,’ co-founder and chief executive officer Adam Neumann said in a film about the awards.

The Creator Awards are open to everyone, even if they are not WeWork members. According to Neumann, ‘anyone who brings a new idea into the world, pursues their passion, and believes in something greater than oneself, is a creator’.

Awards are given across three categories: Incubate Awards, for ideas or specific projects that need funding; Launch Awards, for young businesses and organisations still getting off the ground; Scale Awards, for more established operations aiming to get to the next level.

WeWork Waterhouse Square, London
WeWork Waterhouse Square, London | WeWork

London-based GetGrief, which helps young people deal with the loss of a loved one, took home the top Incubate Award prize at this year’s UK ceremony. Other London-based Incubate winners included social enterprise and youth content platform Teardusk; volunteer project review platform Conservation Guide; The Hard Yard, which offers workouts taught by ex-offenders; community-driven documentary journalism platform Wayword; Fat Macy’s, which hosts pop-up supper clubs run by young Londoners living in hostel accommodation to help secure deposits for their first home; nibs etc., a platform for upcycling leftovers and no waste food recipes and Androdes, an immersive electronic music experience. Winners from outside the capital included Sheffield-based design studio Exyo, which builds human-centred pieces to empower people with disabilities; and the Stendhal Festival, based in Limavady, Ireland.

The top winner in the Launch category was London-based bio-bean, a clean technology startup that recycles coffee grounds into useable products. Other London-based Launch winners include Project Access, a organisation to level the playing field for university admissions; Chatterbox, which offers language tutoring from refugees; Joto, a robotic drawing board that turns pixels into pen and ink; and MURO, a modular activity board and educational toy.

The top winner in the Scale category was Cambridge-based Simprints, a non-profit tech company that has developed low-cost fingerprint scanners that will help aid workers in developing regions. Other winners included London-based Airlite, which makes a paint that purifies the air, and London-based Andiamo, which creates high-tech orthotic devices for children.