Poppy Gustafsson, CEO this side of the Atlantic for cyber security world leader Darktrace, has played a major role in championing gender diversity both within the workplace and wider afield.

Under Poppy’s leadership, five-year-old AI company Darktrace reached a $1.65 billion valuation and headcount of 750 by July of this year. It also won its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in April and was on the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 for the third year in a row.

Poppy evangelises gender diversity at Darktrace where 40 per cent of employees and three C-level executives are women. She made the company a sponsor of WISE this year, a UK social enterprise that promotes this cause.

A colleague told Business Weekly: “Poppy inspires with a unique, new model of leadership that couples a highly ambitious growth strategy with humility and approachability.”

She is a fitting candidate for the Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year crown: the award is “For a woman entrepreneur who can demonstrate outstanding achievements in the last 12 months and who inspires and nurtures other women to excel.”

The Business Weekly Awards continue to attract exciting businesses and entrepreneurs across its broad range of categories.

Luminance, which has entered the Disruptive Technology category, is a prime example. Luminance was developed following unprecedented breakthroughs in machine learning from mathematicians at Cambridge University.

The company’s self-learning technology reads and understands legal documents like a human does, at speeds and efficiencies that humans could never achieve.

Just two years since launch, Luminance has revolutionised the legal profession. Initially focused on M & A, the company’s Diligence product is in use by 115 customers in M & A transactions of any size.

With such phenomenal success, Luminance has already expanded its platform to include ‘Property’, ‘Corporate’ and ‘Discovery’, providing law firms and in-house teams with a one stop shop for all of their contract review needs.

Also in the hotly contested Disruptive Technology category is Expedeon in Cambridge. Expedeon’s TruePrime™ Apoptotic Cell-Free DNA Amplification Kit is designed to overcome one of the main challenges facing liquid biopsy, or cell-free DNA analysis.

Traditional techniques limit the sample amounts that can be obtained from bodily fluids, which affects the number and type of tests that can be performed.

The company’s TruePrime™ Apoptotic Cell-Free DNA Amplification Kit exponentially amplifies cell-free DNA derived from the apoptosis cell-death mechanism (160-170 bp) in plasma, serum, urine, CSF and any other bodily fluids.

Overcoming the challenges associated with sample size unlocks the potential for new technologies to have a profound impact on early-stage diagnosis within oncology, the company says.

As expected, there has been great interest from the BioMedTech community in the region where entry for the Life Science Innovation Award sponsored by AstraZeneca and MedImmune is already strong.

There are also categories covering the most successful startup businesses, engineering excellence, international trade, the best graduate businesses, outstanding university and corporate entrepreneurs and social enterprise.
From all the shortlisted companies, a distinguished judging panel will choose a Business of the Year.

New to the judging panel this year is Dr Darrin Disley, formerly CEO at gene editing world leader Horizon Discovery and a champion of student entrepreneurship and social enterprise in Cambridge and globally.
Dr Disley steered Horizon to two Business of the Year titles so knows what it takes to come out on top in such a strongly competitive field.

Companies have until the end of November to enter but information is already being gathered on some early candidates and prompt engagement is helpful.

The formal judging process gathers pace in the New Year but no winners will be announced until the night of the presentation dinner, which is being held at Queens’ College on Wednesday March 20, 2019.

Award categories range from startups and disruptive technology to engineering excellence, social enterprise and international trade.

The University of Cambridge, through Judge Business School and Cambridge Enterprise, is again backing four categories to honour the best graduate businesses, the leading women entrepreneurs, individuals who have contributed most over a lifetime to furthering the Cambridge brand, and to ‘Dontrepreneurs’ – university personnel that have commercialised science or technology that has changed the world.

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