Wozniak and Branson confirmed judges for 2016 Talent Unleashed Awards

This year will once again feature the 'Most Disruptive CIO/CTO' category
Sir Richard Branson presents Velpic's Russell Francis the 2015 award for 'Most Disruptive CIO'

Sir Richard Branson presents Velpic's Russell Francis the 2015 award for 'Most Disruptive CIO'

Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak and Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson have once again joined the judging panel for the annual Talent Unleashed Awards.

The global awards, hosted by global IT recruitment firm Talent, have officially been launched with the global grand finals event taking place in Sydney on August 18, following regional category finalist events in London and Melbourne in July.

Global finalists will be selected from across the UK and Asia Pacific regions.

Wozniak has confirmed he will be attending the event in person to hear the last pitches from selected finalists across all categories and select this year’s winners. Branson will not be attending the final awards, but he will be participating as a judge online.

Talent has described the awards as a way to identify and celebrate game-changing, ground-breaking technology entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world across five categories.

This year will once again feature the ‘Most Diruptive CIO/CTO’ category, first added last year, and first claimed by Russell Francis, chief executive and CTO of Velpic Group, for his work on the firm’s cloud-based e-learning platform.

The award recognises the technology chief who has achieved amazing results at their company through a disruptive or transformative approach to technology strategy.

Other categories this year include:

  • Best Startup – Social Impact
  • Best Startup – Tech Innovation
  • Best Digital SME – Tech Innovation
  • Best Tech IPO / Venture Capital Raising

The event will mark Branson’s fourth consecutive year serving on the judging panel, and Wozniak’s third.

All five victors will be granted exclusive one-on-one time with Wozniak and a trip to Silicon Valley to attend a technology conference and a bespoke tour of some of the region’s leading tech companies.

Last year the Woz was unable to attend the finals in person, but Branson was present to give out the final awards, including a visit to his own Necker Island.

Talent International MD, Richard Earl, said the new Disruptive CIO/CTO category recognises the growing necessity for individuals in these roles to innovate their business systems and harness technology to grow and survive.

“It’s a wild ride getting an idea off the ground and creating great companies which are changing things for the better. We need to highlight these people that work in this incredible industry right now and that’s why I’m involved in the Unleashed Awards,” said Wozniak.

“The technology sector will continue to transform and disrupt the global economy for many years to come and importantly can make the world a better place. We must encourage more talented individuals and organisations to become bolder and more active and in the process help drive innovation, invention and more efficiency and change across many sectors,” added Branson.

Entries for the awards close on 27 May, with the regional finalists announced on 20 June.

The complete judging panel will also feature Cliff Rosenberg (Linkedin MD - SE Asia and Australia), Dan Radcliffe (founder and executive director of International Volunteer HQ), Jane Tewson (executive director of Igniting Change), Jade Zhang (MD of Okmno Asia) Patrick Grove (group CEO and chairman, Catcha Group) and Yat Sui (founder and CEO of Outblaze).