Dr Derek Harris, chief executive of Hertfordshire Business Incubation Centre (HBIC) has been awarded a lifetime achievement award for services to business incubation.

Derek, who, over the past five years has been instrumental in developing HBIC as EEDA's first Enterprise Hub, was honoured at the UK Business Incubation Awards at the ICC in Birmingham. The award recognises individuals who have placed business incubation at the heart of tailored business support and influenced national policy for the good of entrepreneurs and businesses.

It is the first time that such an accolade has been awarded at the ceremony, Malcolm Buckler, chief executive of UKBI said: "UK Business Incubation represents the very best business support advisors and supporters in the country and increasingly overseas. As with the Oscars - this award celebrates those who have dedicated their professional lives to supporting start-up businesses and developing the right environment for supporting the next generations of entrepreneurs. I am extremely proud to being presenting this award to Dr Derek Harris, a long time supporter of business incubation. In fact, Derek was one of the founding members UKBI and is still an active Director, helping to steer the community forward."

The awards formed part of the UKBI Sustainable Futures Conference, held in Birmingham for the first time in its history. The conference brought together over 250 delegates and experts from around the world to discuss issues of importance within business incubation as well as offering networking and learning opportunities and forums for the exchange of good practice.

Upon receiving his award Derek, said: "I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this award. Business incubation has always been of paramount importance to me. At HBIC we are committed to providing support to assist in the ongoing development and success of our tenants. Through our extensive network of partner organisations both in the UK and across Europe we have been able to provide access to a wide range of business development opportunities and support for early stage developing companies and existing businesses. Since HBIC was established in 2003 we have seen over 1,000 people attend seminars and events and more than 150 companies located at the Business and Technology Centre.