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Competition offers £50k prize for the UK's best invention

Friday, 06 October 2017

Inventors from across the UK are being called upon to showcase undiscovered life hacks and game-changing ideas that have a societal impact for a new Government-backed prize. 

Judges for the Inventor Prize, run by innovation foundation Nesta, will select ten finalists in November 2017 to receive £5,000 and bespoke mentoring to help make their idea a reality. The overall winner will collect £50,000. 

Entries must be for the development of a new product, which has not been on sale before and that addresses a societal problem affecting a number of people in the UK.

Simon Lyons, inventor of Nimble, a gadget that helps people with arthritis to open packets and parcels found that entering a design competition was a great way to get his idea off the ground.

He won £5,000 after scooping first prize in a 2013 competition run by Bath University.

“It’s the network of other individuals that you meet that’s most helpful. I still meet up with some of the other entrants and we help each other out. We go to trade fairs and share the costs," he says.

Simon was later awarded funding by Nesta and the organisation has helped him with legal advice as well as guidance on how to test his products on potential users. 

“A big thing with Nesta's support was that they set strict goals and deadlines that I had to work to," the inventor says. "If I hadn’t worked with them I might still be trying to perfect my idea.” 

Alastair Moore, from Portadown, Northern Ireland, is an ambassador for the Inventor Prize. As an above-knee amputee he experienced problems when travelling on planes with standard NHS crutches which don’t fit into hand luggage.

That inspired him to he design Ambulo, a foldable crutch that fits into a cabin bag. It also has a number of other features including a handgrip that spreads the load making hands and wrists more comfortable. Alastair is launching the product this Autumn.

He said working on Ambulo has been a challenge but one he wouldn’t hesitate to go through all over again.

“If you have an idea don’t be afraid to develop it," he says.

"There is support in the UK to help with product development. Too many people have great ideas and hide them away.”

Mark Champkins, inventor in residence at the Science Museum and now Creative Director at Lego, called on everyone to embrace their inner inventor.

He said that there is no shortage of creative people in the UK but often inventors don’t realise the potential of their ideas. 

“It was the same for me,” he says. “When I got to Nesta I had some ideas; I'd created some prototypes, but I hadn't figured out how to get them into market. 

“Working with Nesta made me believe it was possible and helped me access the funding and support I needed to get my ideas into major retailers.”

“I truly believe there has never been a better time to be an inventor. It's never been easier to learn new things; watch online instructional videos; access free software; test an idea.”

Click here find out more and enter the Inventor Prize.

News Article From:  The Independent


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