Young Innovator of the Year

The Anjool Maldé Memorial Trust takes great pleasure in announcing its 2021 Awards – with extra admiration for this year’s winners, who have battled through such adversity for a second year running, and yet delivered in style. The Trust makes annual awards with prize money to a selection of UK’s talented best young individuals with a special edge to their achievements. The Trust was set up in 2010 as a legacy to Anjool Maldé (1984-2009) and has been pleased to be able to present well over a hundred awards since then.

Professor Judith Buchanan (Master, St Peter's College, Oxford): “The 10-year anniversary of the Anjool Maldé Awards at St Peter’s College provides a moment in which to take stock. As we review what the scheme has achieved across the past decade, we are struck by the quality and character of the 60 Scholars who have now been the beneficiaries of this generous award. In remembering Anjool, this excellent scholarship scheme brings both significant encouragement and material support to young lives at a crucial point in their studies and we are delighted, year on year, to see the real difference that it makes. We look forward to inviting back all awardees later this year for an event to mark the 10-year anniversary of this very fine award programme.”

Emily Nott (Head of Diversity & Inclusion Programmes, Innovate UK): “Innovate UK is proud to be working with the Anjool Maldé Trust on the Young Innovator of the Year Award – 2021.”

The Ideas Mean Business campaign is a collaboration between Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust to engage and inspire young innovators from diverse backgrounds. The programme supported 64 young innovators this year, who each received one-on-one coaching from an innovation champion, funding to support development of their business and an allowance to cover living costs. They were invited to apply for this Top Innovator award and an independent judge appointed to select as winner someone who had managed to make significant progress despite facing many challenges.


Professor Ken Eason (Independent Judge, a leading expert on Sociotechnical Innovation): “All the entries for the Young Innovator of the Year Prize 2021 were great and they all deserved to be winners. What an impressive collection of young people. The winner I have chosen is Anna Watkins. Anna is a wonderful example of a young person who had a brilliant idea of how to turn seaweed into a substitute for leather products and who has been on an amazing journey to transform an experiment that began in a saucepan over the kitchen stove into an industrialised production process, making a range of impressive products. She suffered a series of major setbacks in this process, not least the management of a chronic health problem, but through determination and great use of the support network the innovator scheme has helped her access, she is well on the way to becoming a very significant innovator. Many congratulations and good wishes for the future to Anna.”

Anna Watkins (Winner, Director of Uncommon Alchemy): “It’s an absolute honour to receive this award from the Anjool Malde Trust. I’m incredibly grateful for the recognition and support I’ve received both from the Trust and from the Young Innovators programme, and the sense of achievement this brings. My company, Uncommon Alchemy, is developing highly sustainable materials for fashion, and this award will help me to continue working on solutions for some of fashion’s most pressing problems. My goal has always been to contribute to a better material future, and this award supports me to do that.”

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