Students From the University of York Make it to the Final of the Engineers In Business Innovation Competition
Twenty-one-year-old Emily Martin and twenty-five-year-old Wan Yun Law, both Interactive Media students from the University of York, have secured a place in the final of the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions innovation competition, which will be hosted by TV presenter Rob Bell at the Royal Academy of Engineering on 22 October 2021.
Emily and Wan Yun have invented North Star, a modern, discreet tracker to help keep vulnerable people safe and will be pitching their innovation against nine other teams of student and graduate innovators in the national final. A sum of £15,000 is up for grabs, providing vital seed money to help the winners develop their innovation. The winners will also receive mentoring from business leaders who are members of the Sainsbury Management Fellows network, plus CV packages from Purple CV and entrepreneurial books from Cambridge University Press.
The competition is sponsored by the registered charity, Engineers in Business Fellowship which champions business education for engineers and supports universities by giving them grants to award prizes to students who develop ground-breaking ideas. The grants enable universities to inspire more engineering and technology students and post-graduates to participate in innovation and entrepreneurship, skills that they take into their careers. The world is changing rapidly, and these skills are vital to tackle challenging global problems.
North Star - Innovative Tracking Software to Protect the Vulnerable
Emily and Wan Yun set up LightHouse, a UK based company focused on creating positive change in the UK using modern and innovative tracking software solutions. LightHouse’s first product, North Star, targets the health and wellbeing industry. It consists of a discreet, magnetic, clippable tracker that is paired with tracking software that is usable on desktop and mobile devices. North Star’s purpose is to keep vulnerable people safe while also protecting their privacy.
The software uses safe zones, where the person’s specific location is not disclosed until they leave these zones. To enable faster rescue response, North Star incorporates a trusted contact feature. This allows carers and guardians to share the location of the vulnerable person to these contacts via What3Words, a special geocoding system used by the emergency services to identify locations. Emily explains more about how they identified a market gap for their tracking solution:
“We were inspired to find a solution to the problem of wandering by people with dementia and autism due to our personal experiences and the distressing statistics in this area. There are many stories of tracking technology being used to find and save people from dangerous situations, and this got us thinking. Our product North Star will make a difference by preventing wandering with vulnerable people, using safer talking technologies.
The Engineers in Business competition is designed to inspire engineers and technology students to study business and innovation. Emily said, “Engineering and technology students often have the skills to create a solution to a specific problem that our society is facing. However, it is not enough to just make the solution. Introducing it to the public is equally important. Business is the most effective way to establish solutions with the public. Therefore, teaching us business innovation skills helps to serve the purpose of our creation.”
The Awards Presentation Ceremony – 22 October 2021
The live online dragons’ den style competition will be compered by TV presenter, Rob Bell. Competing against nine other teams, Emily and Wan Yun will have six minutes to convince the judges, through their presentation and Q&A session, that they should be crowned a Champion of Champions and take home a cash prize of between £1,500 and £8,500 depending on the award or awards received! Amongst other criteria, the judges will be assessing the potential impact of North Star within the healthcare sector and amongst the most vulnerable in society.
The members of the judging panel are:
- Dr Andy Phillipps, Entrepreneur and early-stage tech investor and venture capitalist
- Ana Avaliani, Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development, Royal Academy of Engineering
- Dr Jeroen Bergmann, Associate Professor of Engineering Science, University of Oxford
- Serge Taborin, Government Digital Transformation, Amazon Web Services
Emily and Wan Yun will be competing for an Engineers in Business Champion of Champions title against nine other teams from Aberystwyth University, University of Birmingham, University of Exeter, University of Aberdeen, Imperial College London, Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, University of Portsmouth, and the University of Sheffield.
Commenting on the importance of reaching the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions Final Emily said, “Making the final is such an amazing feeling and experience for our team. The coaching session with Sainsbury Management Fellow, John Collins, allowed us to learn how to develop our business further and in a positive direction. Being in the final is also a great networking experience. It’s so important to see other business innovations and receive feedback from different backgrounds with fresh perspectives.”