Last month was the 32nd year of the Sussex Business Awards which saw two of Sussex Innovation’s nominees take home awards:

Race Nation – Innovation of the Year 2021
8foldGovernance – Micro Business of the Year 2021

“We’re extremely proud of the award-winning members of our community,” says Nigel Lambe, Chief Executive of Sussex Innovation and one of the panel of judges. “It’s a real pleasure to celebrate the achievements of two companies that have not only seen commercial success during a challenging year for business, but also exemplify the social values and impact that we love to support.”

A successful pivot during a challenging year
RaceNation is a sports technology company, uniquely providing event registration, club membership management and fundraising on one online platform. Their white-label technology powers more than 2,600 events across the UK whilst raising millions of pounds for charity.

Much of normal life has been put on hold during the pandemic, and the mass participation sports industry was no different. UK-wide, race events were cancelled for almost a year, putting huge pressure on thousands of organisers and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods. For RaceNation, a huge change was needed to not only maintain its own business, but that of its clients.

Organisers were soon looking for alternative ways to host their events, and RaceNation brought technological solutions. The company helped numerous clients to hold their events in a virtual format with a suite of new features, not only raising valuable revenue for themselves but the thousands of vulnerable charities that rely on mass participation events for fundraising.

User-based submissions allowed entrants to remotely upload results, times and distances via tracking giant Strava. Changes to the sign-up process helped lift donations upon registration from 30% to 66%. Updates to the RaceNation App let those with phone tracking be sponsored and cheered on virtually by loved ones supporting them from anywhere in the world.

Ultimately this agile response worked. RaceNation received more than one million page views across the year, despite fewer events being held. New users went up by a third as more first-time participants were enticed by the promise of joining in events from home.

Against the odds, RaceNation is not only surviving, but thriving, brokering new digital partnerships and launching their own event delivery arm. By implementing a new, fully serviced online strategy they have offered a lifeline to organisers, charities and participants across the UK.

“We saw first-hand the impact that Covid would have on the event and charity industries and so we immediately wanted to help,” says director Will Golder. “We built these new features to support our clients that found themselves in such unprecedented circumstances, and were delighted to see an immediate impact. We saw virtual races around the world, races to the moon and other brand-new concepts launch overnight. Winning this award has rightly given well earned recognition to our whole team across both offices for all their tireless work over the last 18 months.”

A small team with a big social footprint
8foldGovernance is a ‘one stop’ digital health innovation agency, supporting both NHS organisations and the digital health technology sector in the UK. It helps innovators to safely and successfully develop and launch new healthcare products and services.

In an industry where the safety and privacy of patients is paramount, 8foldGovernance provides specialist support with information governance, data protection, risk management and regulatory consulting, alongside more conventional product development and marketing services.

The experienced team has helped to launch and scale pioneering digital health technologies across flagship hospitals including Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London, where little ideas have been transformed into big solutions.

One recent example is an artificial intelligence system that is capable of diagnosing dementia after a single brain scan. 8fold’s governance, development and product management experts supported Professor Zoe Kourtzi and her team at Cambridge University by translating the code that was initially written as a proof of concept into a robust prototype. This allowed the team to turn what was previously a concept, into a scalable solution that is now being used in clinical trials in the UK.

This extraordinary innovation has made headlines for its potential to give patients their results in as little as one day; reducing the anxiety of waiting for test results, speeding up early diagnosis while also saving the NHS millions each year.

Throughout the pandemic, the NHS has needed to quickly adopt new technologies in order to offer remote services for patients. The 8foldGovernance team worked tirelessly to ensure that data protection and privacy were not compromised during this speedy implementation.

8fold Governance is also in the process of applying for B Corp certification to demonstrate its commitment to social accountability. Beyond its core mission to improve outcomes for people using health and care services in the UK, the management team is invested in the wider impact of the company for employees, clients, communities and the planet.

“We are truly honoured to accept this award, particularly after what has been a difficult year for everyone,” says CEO, Lyndon Johnson. “It symbolises the triumphs but also the challenges that together we have overcome to get us to this point. We sincerely thank all our clients and friends that have supported us on this journey, including the team at Sussex Innovation who nominated us.”


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