Winners announced at East Midlands Chamber’s inaugural Generation Next Awards

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Posted by: JasmineThompson
Posted on: 16/07/2021

The most promising young business talent in the East Midlands has been celebrated in the first ever Generation Next Awards.

Kate Walker, a Loughborough University graduate who founded ExpHand Prosthetics to make affordable and bespoke 3D-printed prosthetic arms for children in 2018, was crowned the Generation Next Future Leader at a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Avit Media director Ash Stanley tonight (Friday 16 July).

She was one of seven award winners at the inaugural event, part of East Midlands Chamber’s new Generation Next network for young professionals and business leaders aged under 35. It was held in conjunction with headline partner the University of Derby.

Other honours included Apprentice of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, a Breakthrough Award, Excellence in Innovation and Technology Award, Community Award and Customer Service Award.

East Midlands Chamber director of resources and Generation Next lead Lucy Robinson said: “Generation Next is a really exciting new initiative from the Chamber and we’re delighted to have held our first major event, which was a fantastic showcase of the amazing young talent we have across the East Midlands.

“Young people don’t always receive the recognition they deserve but we hope that celebrating their achievements will provide the confidence they need to continue growing as they develop within their careers.

“Our winners are an incredible advert for our region’s entrepreneurial instincts and we can’t wait to continue supporting them as their careers develop.”

How Generation Next Future Leader was chosen

The University of Derby, along with Chamber representatives, chose Kate, who graduated in product design engineering in 2019, for the Generation Next Future Leader Award after recognising how she took a risk to translate her “knowledge and specialist skillset” into a strong start-up business, which is based at the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park.

Other winners included an Entrepreneur of the Year title for the three founders of Project D, an artisan doughnut bakery based in Derby that has grown rapidly during the pandemic by pivoting its business model to a delivery service with a strong online presence.

The Excellence in Innovation and Technology Award was given to Tony Buck, who has led Chesterfield-based creative design studio Oasis Studio’s EyeSiteView team, which is aiming to transform how residential property is traded by using virtual and immersive technology.

Generation Next partners back inaugural awards

Fraser Stretton Estate Agents, GBS Apprenticeships, Hardy Signs, Loughborough College and Nottingham University Business School were partners of the Generation Next Awards and the Generation Next network, alongside the University of Derby.

Professor Kamil Omoteso, pro vice-chancellor and dean of the University of Derby’s College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, said: “Since the University of Derby became a partner in the Generation Next scheme earlier this year, it has been fantastic to see how it is providing valuable support to young professionals across our region, and I would like to congratulate the East Midlands Chamber on developing this very welcome initiative.

“Celebrating the success of young people through these awards demonstrates the huge talent that exists across all areas of employment and enterprise. Recognising innovation and impact, entrepreneurial skills and the positive effect of volunteering in our communities are excellent measures of their skill, knowledge and dedication.

“Leadership is a vitally important quality which we integrate across our curriculum at the University of Derby and deliver to our local business community, so the Generation Next Future Leader Award, which we have sponsored, is a particularly exciting category for us, identifying those who have already made a significant contribution to their industry and have the potential to make a real difference in their field.”

Generation Next was established by East Midlands Chamber last year as a network for young professionals to make connections, build new skills and advance their careers.

It features networking sessions and educational events on topics such as marketing, brand awareness, sales and personal finance, as well as the awards.

A board of 12 “champions”, consisting of young people in the East Midlands business community and two University of Derby students, lead the network.

The Generation Next Awards will be broadcast again by Notts TV in the coming weeks.

For more information about the Generation Next network, visit

Generation Next Awards 2021 winners

To watch the awards again, click here.

Breakthrough Award (sponsored by Nottingham University Business School)


Daniel Jones – Professional Heating Solutions



Holly Daulby – Honest Communications

Max Poynton, Jacob Watts and Matthew Bond – Project D

Kate Johnson – Rate Social

Junyi Xiao – W&W Trading and Consulting


Excellence in Innovation & Technology Award (sponsored by GBS Apprenticeships)


Tony Buck – EyeSiteView (Division of Oasis Studio)



Rikan Patel and Tanrik Patel – Business 2 Business


The Community Award (sponsored by Hardy Signs)


Charlotte Robey Turner – Leicestershire Cares



George Hanvere and Elliot Dipper – Paragon Law

Nisha Pahuja – Charnwood Regency Guesthouse Limited

Katie Gilbert – TTK Confectionery


Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by Loughborough College)


Coral Guard – GBS Limited



Chloe Newton – BEDE Events

Chris Guard – GBS Limited

Chloe Deville – Hardy Signs

Olly Torrence – Purpose Media


Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Fraser Stretton)


Max Poynton, Jacob Watts and Matthew Bond – Project D



Trent Peek – CCM Group

Holly Daulby – Honest Communications

Jordana Chin – Nutri2Go Ltd

Aaron Gent – Aroment



Customer Service Award (sponsored by East Midlands Chamber)


Jenna Hadfield – Banner Jones Solicitors



Beth Bearder – Keebles

Rob Spence – Paragon Sales Solutions

Emily Marriott – Order Blinds Online

Evie Margetts – Corporate Architecture


Generation Next Future Leader Award (sponsored by the University of Derby)


Kate Walker – ExpHand Prosthetics



Edward Morley – Rise & Recline

Harry Dodge – Far-UK

Leah Binney – TTK Confectionery

Theo Kirk – Express Recruitment

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