The 15th EIS Association Annual Awards took place on 15th October 2020 by Zoom due to the situation regarding corona virus (COVID 19). The EISA Board believes it incredibly important to recognise the important work the industry undertakes, this year more than ever.  The Awards denote excellence in a number of EIS and SEIS fields. The Awards were presented to firms, advisers, companies, individuals and journalists that achieved outstanding performance in the context of the EIS & SEIS schemes during 2020. This year we freshened up both our awards categories and our judging criteria to encourage a greater diversity of entrants and winners. We are particularly proud to be introducing a Diversity Champion award to celebrate a firm or individual who is leading positive action in this area.

Watch the event in full:

The members of the independent judging panel for the Awards were:

Philip King – UK Small Business Commissioner
Glen Waters –– Head & Founder of PwC Raise
Jenny Ervine – Raise Ventures – Co Founder
Kavita Patel – Shakespeare Martineau – Regional Head South & Head of Investment Funds
David Brookes – BDO- Tax Partner
Peter Ibbetson – Journolink – Founder/Director
Ewoud Karelse – Tilney– Product Specialist
Malcolm Snook – MPL Wealth Management – Senior Financial Planning Manager
Stephen Renals – St James Place – Head of Division Marketing Strategy
Hans Prottey – Coutts – Head of Strategic Solutions
Mike Jackson – Tech Nation – Entrepreneur Success Director
Alex Davies – Wealth Club – Founder & Chief Executive

The winners of this year’s awards and those highly commended by the judges are listed below.   Additional feedback for those entries not shortlisted will be sent to individual entrants.

Best SEIS Fund Manager/Sponsor, sponsored by   

What the judges said: “A hotly contested category with a record number of entries. The sheer quality of submissions goes to prove just how well served the earliest of early stage businesses are by funders at this important end of the market”

Highly Commended:  SFC Capital

What the judges said: “A very active investor with a clear SEIS focus. Deploys quickly, exits achieved. Lots to like”

Winner: Symvan Capital

What the judges said: “Great evidence of support for portfolio companies and a burgeoning profile within the industry”

Best EIS/SEIS Legal or Regulatory Adviser, sponsored by

What the judges said: “The lawyers and compliance experts are often overlooked but they provide an invaluable service to companies and fund managers by keeping them on the straight and narrow. Its only by reading the submissions that you begin to understand the breadth, depth and expertise of these practitioners”

Highly Commended: MBM Commercial

What the judges said: “Good innovation and evidence of real value added support to the early stage market”

Winners – Adempi Associates and SeedLegals

What the judges said: Adempi – “A regulatory expert in the field with very much a forward looking approach

What the judges said: SeedLegals – “Automation and standardisation of advance assurance applications is innovative and approval rate and speed impressive” 

Best EIS/SEIS Tax Adviser, sponsored by

What the judges said: “Always a fiercely fought category, Best Tax adviser consistently produces and extremely high calibre of expert and this year is no exception. The scores across all entrants couldn’t have been tighter”

Highly Commended: Sapphire Capital Partners

What the judges said: “Extensive range of services and very active in engaging with the industry”

Winner – Philip Hare & Associates

What the judges said: “Ticks all the boxes, evidence of supporting companies, industry participation, pro bono work and fantastic testimonials”

Diversity Champion, sponsored by

What the judges said: “A new category this year to recognise role models and firms championing diversity. Identifying and highlighting inclusion within our society and wider industry is a very welcome addition to the EISA awards”

Highly Commended: Sapphire Capital Partners

What the judges said: “Champions of female and regional diversity and entrepreneurship – to be applauded”

Winner: Worth Capital

What the judges said: “Very refreshing to see such a broad recognition of diversity – need more to follow their lead”

Financial Planner, sponsored by

Highly Commended: Michael Colyer

What the judges said: “Good holistic approach taken and healthy fund diversification

Winner: Stephen Jones

What the judges said: “Detailed and personalised. The client was at the heart of the recommendation”

Best Newcomer, sponsored by

What the judges said: “Another category with a high number of entrants. They say an industry can be judged by the number and quality of new entrants to it. If so, the EIS industry is in rude health. The range and calibre of submissions was staggeringly high. Please make judging this category easier next year!”

Highly Commended: SuperSeed

What the judges said: “Clear vision of what they do and how they do it. Being run by successful entrepreneurs is a true positive”

Winner: Praetura Ventures

What the judges said: “Raised impressive amounts very quickly. Experience and commitment shines through”

Best Journalist – “EIS and SEIS are dedicated to finding the next generation of exciting entrepreneurs and innovators but early stage business often struggle for air time. Journalists who give these companies and the industry support are in short supply and much needed so it is great to see so many finalists this year”

Sponsored by

Highly Commended – James Hurley – “A big advocate of SMEs and often shines a light on their cause”

Winner – Rachel Millard – “Consistently provides a platform for SME voices and writes passionately about their story and funding needs”

Spirit of EIS, sponsored by

What the judges said: “EIS and SEIS have seen numerous changes in its 26 year history, to tax reliefs, legislation and focus. However the spirit of EIS remains the same; to finance early stage businesses who would otherwise struggle to fund their exciting businesses. The spirit of EIS award is a joy to judge as it brings together everything worthy and notable in our industry and this year, more than ever, it was a pleasure to read so many submissions with positive things to say”

Highly Commended: SeedLegals

What the judges said: “Great innovation and contribution to the industry – falls into the extra mile category”

Winner: Deepbridge Capital

What the judges said: “A company that has always innovated. Passionate and engaged both with the industry and portfolio companies”

Best EIS/SEIS Investment Exit, sponsored by

What the judges said: “Finally! The best exits awards sees a high number of submissions. This surely shows the growing maturity of the market. One of the hardest categories to judge due not only to the impressive numbers on show but also due to the social and economic impact the companies exiting exhibited”

Highly Commended: MMC Ventures

What the judges said: “Management team have evidenced what an important partner they are to their portfolio companies”

Winner: Mercia

What the judges said: “Great result for EIS investors and significant scientific and economic impact”

Best EIS Fund Manager, sponsored by

What the judges said: ”Great to see so many entrants for this flagship award. With such a high level of quality submissions, competition for this award was so incredibly high that just to make the finalists list was a huge achievement in itself”

Highly Commended: Par Equity

What the judges said: “High marks across all the categories. Exits, performance and engagement make this entry stand- out”

Winner: Parkwalk Advisors

What the judges said: “Clear, well executed proposition. One of the most visible early stage investors”

Thank You!

The membership would like to thank Lord Howard Flight for his outstanding work as Chairman on behalf of the EIS Association.

Thank you to our speaker John Glen, The Economic Secretary.

To everyone who contributed to this wonderful evening and for the support of the board, committees and membership throughout the year.

We would also like to thank Calculus Capital, Haatch Ventures, Nova Growth Capital, Vala Capital, Par Fund Management, Deepbridge Capital and Praetura Ventures for sponsoring our ‘Plan to Grow’ event in September 2020 and Acceleris, Edition Capital, Hambro Perks, Kin Capital, Nova Growth Capital, Octopus Investments, Par Equity, SFC Capital, Shakespeare Martineau, Thompson Taraz and Vala Capital for sponsoring EISA’s major research study into the effectiveness of the tax advantaged schemes (EIS, SEIS and VCT).

Martin Fox for organising the award judging process and all the judges for their invaluable contribution.

We would also like to thank Bovill, who provide office space for EISA

And finally but not least thank you to our sponsors for their steadfast support:

 

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