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A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate has been named as a finalist in this year’s Generation Next awards designed to recognise rising stars of the business world.

Harsh Shah, who has a Master’s in business intelligence and data mining, is on the shortlist for the Excellence in Innovation and Technology Award in the regional competition, run by East Midlands Chamber.

Picture: De Montfort University

He is now a Knowledge Transfer Associate working on a regional programme to use big data to create a new business intelligence unit which could ultimately win more investment for the region.

He said: “Being selected as a finalist in one of the most prestigious and recognised awards amongst young individuals across East Midlands, I am extremely proud of how far I have come within the span of 14 months.

“The nomination not only boosts my confidence but also give me an opportunity to promote KTP programme and the importance of data across SMEs. What can one be more proud of than getting recognised for all the hard work and efforts that is changing innovation dynamics of the East Midlands economy.”

A KTP links a company with an innovative idea to a university, which provides the expertise in the form of an associate such as Harsh to work on the project.

In the 14 months of the project so far, Harsh and the team have been able to use the data to pull together information for companies, presented to the Department for Education and helped dig out facts and figures for media looking to report on the regional economy as well as many local councils.

This is turn has increased the reputation of EMC as a data-led organisation and our work has inspired other organisations to take advantage of the data and use it in policy-making.

Harsh said working on the KTP had given him the chance to develop professional and technical skills. He said: “The KTP project has helped me to develop quite quickly in my career which I do not believe I would have otherwise. The amount of support and trust that I have from stakeholders allows me to drive the project in right direction through right conversations.

Realising the impact my work has been making at numerous levels helps me perform better and take up the challenges to further enhance my professional skills. The opportunities I have and the encouragement I receive from the stakeholders is helping me develop my technical skills to deliver the project.

“I am extremely happy that I have right people around me who support me in delivering innovation at EMC. On a separate note, I have made networks with high-level professionals from DCMS, Alan Turing Institute, LLEP and D2N2 who help me to exchange ideas and provide access to right resources and better opportunities to collaborate.”

There are 10 categories in the Generation Next awards which are open to young professionals and business leaders aged 35 and under. Winners will be crowned at an awards ceremony in Derby on July 14.  

Lucy Robinson, East Midlands Chamber’s director of resources and Generation Next lead, said: “The Generation Next Awards are a celebration of the rising stars of business who make outstanding contributions to their communities.

“We received some brilliant applications from a diverse breadth of individuals, and our shortlist of finalists offers a glimpse into the amazing young talent that exists here in the East Midlands.”

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