A children’s cutlery set and a musical memory box for dementia sufferers were the winning designs in the Women With Bright Ideas competition.
The Dragons Den-style competition was launched by the Engineering and Innovation Network South West (EIN-SW) to celebrate ‘National Women In Engineering Day’ earlier this year and saw 25 budding entrepreneurs and designers from all over the country enter their ideas.
In the end, two products stood out and the judges were unanimous in having a joint winner: The Musical Memory Box designed by Chloe Meineck to aid people with dementia and doddl, an ergonomically designed cutlery set which will revolutionise mealtimes for young children, designed by two sisters Rosie Phelps and Catherine Dodd.
“Women need to know that engineering is not what you may stereotypically think of: i.e. someone in a boiler suit up to your neck in grease and complex parts. It can be something much more subtle, simple and refined,” said doddl Director, Catherine Dodd.
All the finalists received advice from intellectual property lawyer Jessica Bent from Withy King Solicitors and an inspirational workshop from Joni Farthing, founder of Women Outside The Box. While NT CADCAM is supporting both winners with any CAD design and support that they might need.
Women With Bright Ideas judge, Ian Weston, said: “The standard was very high. The entries ranged from a fully portable Comms Cube that could give businesses instant internet access to an ergonomic mouse mat and novel fertility treatment. All the finalists had found a gap in their specialist fields and pushed through it with hands on experience. It was tremendous fun as well as being very enlightening as all the ideas were revolutionary in their approach. It was a very difficult decision but I think we chose the best of the best.”
The assistance these businesses are receiving has been enabled by a £375,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund through the South West Competitiveness Programme 2007-13 and will be delivered with EIN-SW partners Swindon College and The University of Bath.