Four design entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of £150,000 to develop their innovative products to assist independent living as part of Spark 2019.
Spark, which is run by the Design Council, selected its Spark 2019 finalists during an event in London on 15 October. The finalists will receive the additional funding to help further develop their unique product ideas.
Now in its sixth year, Spark is an intensive product innovation programme providing design entrepreneurs with expertise and support to bring new products to market. Entrants to this year’s Spark were challenged to develop ideas for independent living to help make the home easier and better for all. Each of these four selected finalists will now receive a share of a £150,000 prize fund to help develop their products further.
The selected Spark 2019 finalists are:
Hemal Dias, inventor of stablspoon, an affordable self-stabilising spoon for people with hand tremors.
Ben King and Luke Gray, inventors of The Koa Duvet Cover, an easy change duvet cover, which does not become misaligned as the traditional duvet is inclined to do.
Jennifer Lake, inventor of Bug Grip, a universal clamp that can be used to temporarily fix two things together which allows users with an extra set of ‘hands’ encouraging independence.
Esher N’jie, inventor of post-surgery underwear, which eliminates major challenges to the healing process decreasing post-surgery complications.
The successful finalists were selected from a shortlist of 10 design entrepreneurs, who each received £15,000 as well as 16 weeks of intensive coaching and mentoring from a host of experts to support the development of their product across design, development, IP, investment and marketing. The programme culminated in a pitch day on 9th October where each of the finalists pitched their product to a panel of esteemed experts who then deliberated and selected which of the Spark 2019 designers would receive additional funding.
Sarah Weir OBE, Chief Executive, Design Council said: “I’m immensely proud of our ten Spark finalists, all of whom have worked so hard throughout the Design Council Spark programme. They have consistently impressed their coaches and mentors with their innovative ideas, their ability to take on feedback and their continued determination to make life better by design. Our Showcase event today is a wonderful opportunity for them to talk to investors, designers and many others about their innovations and I look forward with great interest to seeing how they progress in the future.”
Since its creation in 2014, Design Council Spark has helped more than 150 innovators and entrepreneurs to develop their product ideas. Some 55 of these have been intensively supported with mentoring, funding and specialist input to help them progress to market.
For further details on Design Council, please visit: www.designcouncil.org.uk