Social Enterprise Mark holder Beacon Centre for the Blind has launched a pioneering competition to improve the lives of those living with sight loss and or other sensory loss.
Inventors across the West Midlands are being urged to sign up for the Beacon Visionary+ Challenge which has a prize fund worth £20,000. It aims to find innovative products or services; from gadgets that may make everyday tasks a little easier to a ground breaking invention which would transform someone’s life.
Beacon Centre has joined forces with the University of Wolverhampton’s Caparo Innovation Centre to run the competition. The winner will receive a £20,000 prize, comprising a combination of cash investment and in-kind support from the state of the art innovation centre. The aim is to help bring the winning product or service to the open market faster and more effectively.
Arwyn Jones, Beacon Centre Chief Executive said: “Across the West Midlands there are already around 170,000 people affected by sight loss, by 2050 this will rise to some 350,000.”
“Beacon Centre is a leading sight loss charity and we want to inspire new products or services that could transform everyday life for people with visual or other sensory impairments and has the potential to be launched on the open market.”
Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of Product Innovation at the University of Wolverhampton’s Caparo Innovation Centre added: “We’re excited to be working with the Beacon Centre to deliver the Visionary+ Challenge, and looking forward to working with inventors and entrepreneurs to help them develop their products.”
The competition’s patron is Dr Stephen Fear, a renowned entrepreneur and businessman, notable as having been Entrepreneur in Residence at The British Library where he continues in his role as ambassador. He said: “Innovation is a vital element of entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurs create general wealth which extends beyond just the financial. Inventing and discovering new things has been part of UK culture since the doomsday book and the West Midlands has been a honeypot for inventors since the industrial revolution.”
“This new initiative by The University of Wolverhampton and the Beacon Centre for those with sight impairment aims to help new inventors and entrepreneurs bring innovative products and concepts to market which benefit both themselves and society generally.”
Those interested in applying, can find more information can be found on the Visionary+ Challenge website. The competition will be open for submission of entries from the beginning of September 2016.
On 18th October, prospective applicants can attend the Caparo Innovation Centre for a one to one advisory session to polish their submission, or take part in an online YouTube Live webchat with Nick Comley, Beacon’s Head of Social Finance and Business Development. The drop in sessions and webchat will run from 2.30pm – 4.30pm GMT from the University of Wolverhampton.