15 Jul 2022

Top young business talent in East Midlands crowned at Generation Next Awards 2022

From a trio of young entrepreneurs behind a rapidly-growing digital marketing start-up to a community-focused sales executive, some of the region’s top young business talent was recognised at the Generation Next Awards 2022.

Ten awards were handed out at the event hosted by East Midlands Chamber, which launched the Generation Next network two years ago to bring together young professionals and business leaders aged 18 to 35.

Keeping in step with the young theme, street food, cocktails and a DJ set from BeauJack formed part of the informal celebrations at Bustler Market, in Derby, last night (Thursday 14 July) for the first in-person Generation Next Awards, held in association with headline partner the University of Derby.

Emma Roberts, who went from being a volunteer at Derby Community Parent Programme CIC to managing director, won the Future Leader Award.

She led the not-for-profit – which provides essential, and sometimes life-changing, support for expectant and new parents facing a range of challenges in their transition to parenthood – through a challenging pandemic period to secure long-term funding. Emma also broadened its engagement work to include the impact of maternal mental health, loss and trauma.

Speaking after winning the award, she said: “It means everything to have won this award and I feel so proud of our team. Over the past few years, I’ve personally been through quite a lot and kindness goes a long way, which is something that hopefully goes throughout our organisation.”

Other big winners included Art Lindop, Kieran Flynn and Alex Mills, founders of Derby-based digital marketing agency Alphageek. They won the Breakthrough Award and Entrepreneur of the Year for their success in quadrupling the start-up’s annual turnover in three years to just below £1m and supporting watchmaker Casio to boost sales of its G-Shock model via a digital campaign.

There was also recognition for Leicester-based 360 Autoleasing East Midlands’ sales executive Taylor Gee, who won the Volunteer Award for his commitment to community work, and Nottingham-based MP Digital managing director David Maran, who was crowned in the Excellence in Innovation and Technology category for developing a bespoke booking system used by leisure centres and providers across Europe, North America and Oceania.

Radio presenter Kaylee Golding hosted the event, which also featured keynote speeches from Generation Next chair Emma Baumback, last year’s Future Leader winner Kate Walker, who makes affordable and customisable prosthetics for children via her start-up ExpHand Prosthetics, and Chamber president Lindsey Williams.

East Midlands Chamber director of resources and Generation Next lead Lucy Robinson said: “After being unable to celebrate the inaugural Generation Next Awards in person last year, it was great to bring so many fantastic young people together for this event.

“These awards demonstrated how much unbelievable young talent exists in businesses across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire – from start-up founders disrupting their industries all the way down to apprentices fresh out of education.

“It’s important not only to celebrate their achievements, but also to showcase what we can offer in our region so that businesses of all shapes and sizes recognise why we must continue to invest in our young people, who will be the next generation of business leaders.”

Generation Next Awards winners 2022

Future Leader Award (sponsored by University of Derby)

Emma Roberts, Derby Community Parent Programme CIC (Derby)

Breakthrough Award (sponsored by Nottingham University Business School)

Art Lindop, Kieran Flynn and Alex Mills, Alphageek (Derby)

Customer Service Award

Ben Wilkinson, MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Leicester)

Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by Loughborough College)

Ruby Birks, Purpose Media (South Normanton, Derbyshire)

Diversity & Inclusion Award

Fred Gough, University of Derby (Derby)

Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Fraser Stretton Property Group)

Art Lindop, Kieran Flynn and Alex Mills, Alphageek (Derby)

Excellence in Innovation and Technology Award (sponsored by Hardy Signs)

David Maran, MP Digital (Nottingham)

Sustainability Award (sponsored by MHA MacIntyre Hudson)

Jack Hall, Scenariio (Derby)

The Creative Award (sponsored by PPL PRS)

Dan Poynton, On Poynt Creative (Leicester)

Volunteer Award (sponsored by RSM UK)

Taylor Gee, 360 Autoleasing East Midlands (Leicester)