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Loughborough Engineering Graduate is Finalist in National Business Innovation Competition

On 28 October 2019 engineering students, graduates and postgraduates will compete for a prestigious Engineers in Business Competition award and a share of a £10,000 prize pot.


Ten teams from UK universities have been short-listed to pitch their business innovations at the Champion of Champions Grand Final at the Royal Academy of Engineering – the awards ceremony will be attended by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, the patron of the Engineers in Business Competition (EIBC).


Kate Walker, a Product Design and Manufacturing graduate from Loughborough University has invented ExpHand, a 3D printed prosthetic arm designed for children from 3-10 years old that can be adjusted to grow with a child. The prostheses have interchangeable hands and adjustable sockets, so the prostheses are never too small. It can be fitted at home and costs less than £50 to produce.


Only 10% of people across the world have access to the prostheses they need. Kate’s innovation, which first won an award in the University of Nottingham’s Engineers in Business Competition, is designed to break down barriers such as high costs and a lack of specialists. 


Kate explains the inspiration behind ExpHand: “I was inspired to start ExpHand Prosthetics after meeting a little girl who was missing her arm from the elbow down. I found that it was unlikely that she would have the opportunity to have a prosthesis due to her age and decided to design a prosthesis for her myself.”


The Engineers in Business Competition inspires engineers to gain business skills through their university enterprise competitions. They then harness their combined engineering and business skills to create innovations that can change people’s lives and improve the lived environment.

 

Kate was second prize winner in the University of Nottingham’s Engineers in Business Competition receiving £1,000 to assist with the development of her company ExpHand Prosthetics. She then entered the Engineers in Business Grand Final and won a place in the Champion of Champions Final, where she will be up against other engineers with equally forward-thinking ideas. Will Kate carry away the Gold Award for her exciting idea to make prosthetics for young people more accessible?


Commenting on why engineers need to learn business skills Kate said: “Business skills make better engineers as you’re able to consider not only functionality and the end-product that you’re working on, but also the context in which it will be sold. This means that engineers can make better informed decisions during product development as they can understand the implications of their design choices on the overall profitability of a product.


“The most important thing I learnt from competing in the university business competition was the power of networking. Purely by speaking with other people in the competition and the mentors that were available to help and give advice, I was able to improve my business model and have my application proof-read before submitting it in the competition.”


The Engineers in Business Grand Final competition will see each pitch team present and answer questions from the judges who are:

  •  Ana Avaliani, Head of Enterprise, Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Tim Chapman, Director, Arup - Infrastructure
  •  Andrew Doe, a Sainsbury Management Fellow, serial entrepreneur, a highly experienced e-commerce and digital leader and a non-exec director
  •  Kate Beresford, Head of Membership and Operation, Enterprise Educators UK


The judges are looking for:

  • Originality and viability of the idea
  • How the idea helps to solve a real problem in society
  • The benefits to the target audience/customer


In addition to the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards, there will be two other exciting prizes:

  • Lord Sainsbury Prize – Lord Sainsbury will award this prize to the team he believes has created a business idea that will have a big impact in society
  • People’s Prize – the winner of this prize will be determined by the number of public votes based on the finalists’ videos which can be viewed on this website


The Engineers in Business Competition supports and promotes the idea of a combined engineering and business education. In a world that is moving and developing so rapidly, these skills are vital in order to tackle challenging global problems and to make lasting positive changes to the way we live.


For further information on ExpHand, contact Althea Taylor-Salmon at eibcompetition@eibc.org.uk.