Addressing weighty problem wins award
ACOMPANY that produces 25-stone mannequins which will be used to train emergency personnel and healthcare workers to safely lift obese people has won the 2015 Spark Business competition.
The contest, run by Stockport Business and Innovation Centre (SBIC) in Reddish, attracted a diverse range of business ideas, but it was Chris Jarratt who picked up the trophy for his mannequin idea, Bariquins.
The judges commended the innovative business idea for its growth potential and for addressing issues around a global health problem.
The six finalists pitched their ideas to the judging panel of industry experts in a Dragons’ Den style session.
Judging panel chairman Christian Mancier, from Gorvins Solicitors, said the competition was ‘incredibly close to call’ with all business ideas ‘demon- strating great potential’.
Among the five other business start-ups in the final was Michael Boylan with his TwistPot plant pot system, Hagen Kuehn’s Quater business software idea, and the Creativefront Digital Academy, a notfor-profit training organi- sation run by Vinca and Lee Power.
Also competing was Angela Lock’s specialist gift company Bessie & Flo, and Grumpy Vest, a student work placements platform devised by Jamie Owens.
However, it was Bariq- uins which took the crown.
Chris Jarratt said: “Winning the Spark competition endorses my idea as a viable business model.
“Having not run my own business before, there was always a doubt in the back of my mind, but winning this gives me the confidence to take my idea on to the next level. It really is the cherry on the cake.”
Chris’s prize is a package of support worth £15,000, including free office space for a year at SBIC, which is owned by Stockport Council and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The centre provides flexible office space, mentoring and business support specifically aimed at startup businesses looking to make their first move into professional offices.
Chris will also receive marketing, product development and PR support, along with a business banking start-up package, expert guidance on finance, legal, employment law and IP protection.