21st March 2024
Marshall Arena, Stadium MK
21st March 2024, Marshall Arena, Stadium MK

After the huge success of the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards last year, sponsorship interest was at an all-time high. When the 2024 awards’ theme was announced on that night back in March, one local business knew they had to be involved.

The theme is Forever Innovative – Milton Keynes Leading the UK’s High-Tech Future, and AI-powered data insights specialist Aiimi was quick to agree to becoming one of the headline sponsors for 2024.

Aiimi’s CEO, Steve Salvin, answers some questions about why it was so important they signed up…

As a brand-new headline sponsor of the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards in 2024, what encouraged Aiimi to get involved this year?

When I attended the awards last year, I was so impressed with Nick (Nicholas Mann, Chair of MKBLP), his team, and the energy and effort they put into the event; there are so many companies in Milton Keynes to whom these awards really matter. I could really feel the hope, excitement, and what it meant to the winners. With the theme for 2024 so closely tied to technology, and Aiimi keen to be an active part of the Milton Keynes community, it seems like the perfect moment to be more involved, as a headline sponsor.

Milton Keynes is well-known as an entrepreneurial and highly innovative city and this status clearly resonated with Aiimi. Was this the sole reason for the move from London in 2020 and how has the city lived up to Aiimi’s expectations since?

For us, it’s key that Milton Keynes is a hotbed of talent. It sits right in the middle of the Oxford-Cambridge Innovation Arc, MK:U is tech focused, and then there’s Milton Keynes College’s South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) in Bletchley. The city is only 30 minutes from London by train and Aiimi is just a four-minute walk from the station. And yet being in Milton Keynes is a third of the cost of a London office. It meant we were able to create our purpose-built Hack Zone, a 5,000-square-foot collaboration space that sits within our HQ. We really needed that kind of space because of the way we work, and it just wouldn’t have been possible in London.

This year’s theme for MKBAA is Forever Innovative – Milton Keynes Leading the UK’s High-Tech Future – how does this resonate with Aiimi?

The theme takes me back to Bletchley Park being nearby, which actually provided the inspiration for our Hack Zone. Bletchley Park was really the first and biggest ever hackathon, where over 5,000 people came together, from different walks of life, different nationalities, different skills, to solve one problem. And as a by-product of that collaboration, they ended up creating the first computer. We use our Hack Zone to work with our customers, but we also encourage local groups and charities to use it as a community space and see it as an amenity for Milton Keynes.

We’d love to see Milton Keynes become the Silicon Valley of the UK – do you think the city is well placed to achieve this status?

Milton Keynes is perfectly placed to become the UK’s Silicon Valley. Sitting in the centre of the Oxford-Cambridge Innovation Arc, right between Birmingham and London, surrounded by excellent higher education institutions. But if we’re going to attract international investors, they’ll need to see an improved infrastructure, such as the East-West transport line and a proper premises for MK:U. As a city, we’ve still got work to do.

The role of AI in the business world is a hot topic at the moment, how can Milton Keynes businesses benefit from this new tech landscape going forward?

McKinsey says that by 2030, 70% of everything we do at work will be done by AI. As a tech-leading city, we want businesses that are based here to be early adopters and early winners. If we get this right, we can have the most competitive businesses right here in Milton Keynes.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of MKBAA. Aiimi has also recently celebrated a decade in business, so what would your advice be to tech start-ups making their way in the sector within Milton Keynes, and why should they enter the awards?

When we first moved to Milton Keynes, we launched a marketing campaign to introduce ourselves and asked all the companies based here if we could ‘borrow a cup of sugar’. It went down really well, leading to lots of meetings and interesting conversations. Ultimately, it led to three of the most important outcomes for any start-up looking to make their way in the sector; it attracted new talent, new customers, and offers of investment.

What are you looking forward to most about the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards 2024?

I’m most looking forward to hearing about the people nominated, listening to their stories on the night, and then seeing the joy of the people winning the awards, getting the acknowledgement and accolades that they so deserve.

To find out more about the final few remaining sponsorship opportunities for Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards 2024, email sponsorship@mkbaa.co.uk and follow @MK_BAA on Twitter and join the discussion on LinkedIn.

To find out more about Aiimi go to www.aiimi.com

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