Winning in China through Innovation, Design and Awards

16th June 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Supercharge your growth in Asia-Pacific

About this event

“China is becoming an ever more important market for UK businesses. It’s vital for British jobs that we continue to develop our economic ties with the world’s fastest-growing major economy.” Matthew Rous, CEO, China Britain Business Council.

It’s Asia’s rapid growth markets that will boost UK innovators. China growth surged by 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021 and is the only major economy to grow in 2020 by 2.3%. And in 2020 British exports to China rose by 10.7%, compared with 2019 – up £837 million.

China is a market demanding new innovative products and services at scale and ripe for development by fast growth UK enterprises that can grow fast using innovation and design to exploit gaps in the market. That’s why Barclays Eagle Labs is partnering with China’s renowned Design Intelligence Awards (DIA) that awards £750k to help businesses grow and trade in China.

Join us for this national event where you will learn more about how you as a founder you can Win in China through innovation, design and find out how you can apply for the 2021 Design Intelligence Awards to help businesses grow and trade in China.


13.00 – Introduction – Jen Estherby, Health Tech Lead, Barclays Eagle Labs

13.05 – Design for China – John Mathers, Chair British Design Fund

13.15 – Planning for China – Nate Macabuag Founder, Koalaa

13.25 – Market entry for China – Keith McCabe, CEO, Simplifai Systems

13.35 – Innovation in Eagle Labs – Robyn Townsend, Eagle Lab Engineer Lead

13.45 – Discussion and Q&A

13.55 – Winning a DIA award – John Mathers, Chair of DIA UK Judges/Close – Jen


Jen Estherby, Health Tech Lead, Barclays Eagle Labs

Jen has worked for Barclays in various roles over the last 13 years and more recently has been responsible for building the HealthTech Industry vertical within Barclays Eagle Labs and over the last 2 ½ years has built up a national ecosystem of HealthTech founders to encourage the promotion of new and emerging technologies by bringing together industry experts, innovators, academics and health and social care providers to support the transformation of the healthcare industry through collaboration, innovation and technology.

John Mathers, Chair British Design Fund & Chair DIA UK Judges

John has been working for 40 years in the brand and design industry. He was CEO of the UK Design Council for five years from 2011-16. In 2017 he co-founded The British Design Fund, a venture capital fund supporting well-designed British start-ups. He’s a visiting professor at Tongji University, advises Innovate UK Healthy Ageing Challenge, Chairs the annual UK DRUM Design Awards and has co-founded the Innovate UK funded Design Age Accelerator and Healthy Ageing by Design.

Nate Macabuag, Founder, Koalaa

Nate is listed by Forbes in their 2021 30 under 30. Nate founded Koalaa in 2020 to work alongside people with limb differences to create the world’s first medically approved soft prostheses and virtual support system designed by users, for users. He graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial, was on the board of the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service and is a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub member that draws on the expertise of the Academy’s Fellowship, which consists of some of the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business.

Keith McCabe, CEO, Simplifai Systems

Keith founded Simplifai Systems to solve traffic congestion and its issues using artificial intelligence.SimplifAI generates real-time traffic control strategies that solve complex issues, such as major events, pollution, traffic incidents and unexpected congestion. He was part of the Barclays / TUS Park IoT Accelerator in 2018. He is vice chair of the ITS UK Smart Environment Forum leading the transport technology industry input into the COP26 Summit. He is a former chair of the IET Manchester Network and its Transport Technical Interest Group. Keith is also a member of the US Transport Research (TRB) Standing Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computing and Joint Chair of the TRB sub committee on Emergency Operations Resilience.

Robyn Townsend, Eagle Lab Engineer Lead

Robyn is an experienced designer, creative and Engineer Lead for Eagle Labs as well as Lab Engineer for the TusPark Eagle Lab Newcastle. With 10 years’ experience in making products, problem-solving and Rapid Prototyping at The National Glass Centre and FabLab Sunderland, Jen helps businesses grow through business support, prototyping, workshops and classes in digital fabrication.


UK applicants are serial DIA winners – in 2019-20 UK businesses included Tampliner and Hero Arm who were awarded £140k and have gone from strength to strength, winning Fast Company, Time and Dyson innovation awards.

How do businesses use design as a strategic tool to crack the market? How do they market-test their proposition? And how do they get exposure? Hear from winning entrepreneurs, design industry leaders and trade experts on their experience of how to win in China.

The DIA UK team is very pleased to be able to advise applicants and is led by John Mathers, former Design Council CEO and Chair of the British Design Fund so if you’re interested in applying, please contact John at:

Deadline July 9th – apply today at:

Conference details will be sent out approximately one hour prior to event start time.


16th June 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:
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