SPRK14_smlThis Tuesday, we celebrated the launch of the SPARKies awards, the digital and tech awards for the west, at the Bristol offices of our headline sponsor Deloitte Digital.

The aim of the SPARKies is to shine a light on the very best people, products and companies that make up the tech sector in Bristol, Bath and the broader West of England region, and the launch party was a way to thank the sponsors and judges who make the awards possible.

The SPARKies awards range from best app, game, entrepreneur, coder, mentor or startup to celebrating those using tech for good or recognsing the company who is ‘totally killing it’ abroad.

The nominations are open now! – but hurry, you only have until the 3 October to let us know about the people or companies you think should be recognised for their influence on the tech in the West of England.

The sponsors

Adding to Deloitte Digital’s generous support by hosting the launch party, we had a diverse range of sponsors which reflect the widespread support the tech community has for showing off the tech achievements being made in the region.

Our gold sponsors this year are UK law firm Ashfords, inward investment agency Invest Bristol + Bath, communications technology firm Gradwell and digital design agency Deep Blue Sky.

Also providing the SPARKies with sponsorship are Real World, home to a group of music-loving companies in Box, Wiltshire, R&D tax credit consultancy ForrestBrown, accounting software company FreeAgent, software consultancy Scott Logic, equity crowdfunding platform Crowdbnk, Bristol and Bath Science Park, legal firm TLT, business accelerator Tech City UK, three-word social media platform Natter and telecommunications operator Orange.

We are also receiving support from printers Ripe Digital, web consultancy Storm and the Bath Digital Festival – phew!

Launched with a bang!

We certainly saw a good show from tech-y types, entrepreneurs and startup founders on the launch night – as the pictures from the evening demonstrate. It was wonderful to see so many people catching up and networking, something we plan to replicate on a much bigger scale at the awards party on Thursday 30 October at Komedia, Bath.

The SPARKies awards are part of the Bath Digital Festival and tickets are available from 15 October, and nearer the time we will be revealing the identity of a special guest, so keep your eyes peeled.


What the judges are looking for

If you are planning  to nominate someone for an award, here’s some feedback from the judges for what they are looking for and what they are excited by:


“I’m not a techie expert, but I am a great believer in Technology for Good. I am hoping to see innovation, imagination and integrity from the nominees!”

– Charlotte Calkin, Curator for TEDxYouth


“We should see some great, ambitious companies that are truly innovative and keen to scale. I hope there will be some established companies we have never heard of that realise the value of being a part of the local ecosystem, even if their business is 100% export.”

– Nick Sturge, Centre Director at SETsquared


“The size and diversity of the tech community across [Bath and Bristol] never ceases to surprise me. The variety of innovative companies doing amazing things has exploded in the last couple of years, and it’s truly exciting to be at the midst of it.”

– Andy Cox, Innovation and Solutions Director at IPL


“I’m hoping to see companies that make me think, ‘I’d like to work there”

– James Routely, Organiser at South West Founders


 Bigger and better

Founder of the SPARKies David Maher Roberts added: “Shadowing the growth of the digital economy in the region, The Sparkies is going from strength to strength.

“When we first launched the awards in 2012, we had 100 nominations and 250 people attended the awards night – two years on and we’re expecting hundreds of nominations and we have had to increase the venue capacity to over 400 for the event.”



The SPARKies founder: David Maher Roberts thanks the Sponsors and judges at the SPARKies launch



 Networking: Guests chat to each other during the SPARKies launch


You can follow the SPARKies on twitter using the hashtag #theSPARKies, or by liking us on facebook. Know someone you think should win? Nominate them!