A share of up to £200,000 has been awarded to four Design Council Spark 2016 finalists, as announced in City Hall at the London Design Festival tonight.
The recipients, whose products are set to change the lives of sleepy parents, diabetics and nosebleed sufferers everywhere, were recognised for their entrepreneurial vision and product progression over the rigorous 20-week Spark programme. They will use the money to progress their life-enhancing products to market.
Rockit, a portable rocker which attaches to any pushchair, car seat or crib, simulates a gentle rocking motion to soothe babies to sleep. The brainchild of sleep-deprived dad Nick Webb and his two business partners Matt Sparrow and Matt Dyson, the rocket-shaped device provides just the right level of vibration to send an infant into slumber.
A Type 1 diabetic, Peter Bailey is more than aware of the human error and pain that results from injecting insulin. His new TickleFlex device clips on to the needle, grips the skin and folds inwards, creating a pinch that not only controls the needle depth but also blocks the pain pathways. The result is a safer and more comfortable way of self-administering insulin.
As a trainee in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Wendy Minks' wanted to find a way to stop nosebleeds in a simple and comfortable manner, reducing the need for sufferers to head to A&E and endure the uncomfortable treatment of nasal packing. Rhinamite is a simply designed, compact and non-invasive nose clip that applies cool pressure to the nose and can be used to stop the bleeds in the home or by first-aiders in a sport setting to limit injury.
Through the support of this year’s partner, Arthritis Research UK, the fourth award was presented to Sheffield University graduates Matthew Barrett, Natalie English and Thomas Fantham for their sartorial invention that offers relief to those with limited dexterity. Handy-Fasteners is a set of magnetic buttons that can be retrofitted to any garment and replace the fiddly buttons that are especially challenging for those with arthritis in their hands.
The 2016 awards were granted after a thorough assessment of each venture’s business plan and product viability by Design Council Spark’s illustrious investment panel. Each Award provides up to £50,000 of further funding, with the total amount tailored according to the next stage of product development.
Inventor of Chillipeeps and investment panellist, Claire Mitchell said of the scheme: "Seeing the finalists and products grow from an idea to where they are today, makes me extremely proud of their creativity, tenacity, passion and belief in themselves and their products. It has made the judging process almost impossible. The Spark programme is so important for inventors to guide, support, fund and give them knowledge to help them get their innovations to market."
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