2011 - Michael Korn (KwickScreen)
Michael Korn, a 30 year old entrepreneur from East Finchley, North London won the coveted title of Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 and £10,000 for his invention, KwickScreen (www.kwickscreen.com), which is already being used in the NHS to bring an end to the misery of mixed sex wards.
NHS Trusts are committed to virtually eliminating mixed sex accommodation by dividing up bays with either solid walls or moveable partitions. Using curtains to separate bays is not sufficient under NHS rules and since April 2011 hospitals can be fined £250 for each day a patient is forced to share accommodation with the opposite sex.
KwickScreens are portable, retractable room-dividers that mean healthcare professionals can make the best use of available space to give maximum privacy, protection and dignity to patients. The screens can be a direct replacement for dusty curtains or expensive building projects, and their easy to clean design means they can help prevent hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.
Michael Korn (KwickScreen)
Since its launch in 2010, the British-made product, manufactured in Corby, is already used in over 30 NHS trusts as well as in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Designs can be printed onto the KwickScreens, adding colour and interest to wards, and the screens can also be used to display important messages to staff and visitors. Michael and his team are working on expanding the market to dentists, GPs, Care Homes and then schools, open plan offices and exhibitions.
On winning the award Michael said: "It's a great honour to win the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year title. I started my company when I realised there was a need to ensure that dignity and privacy of people in hospital needed to be better protected. From that simple insight I have been driven to build my business over the last 4 years in the UK. I will use the £10,000 that I have won to target the international healthcare markets.
Michael added: "My business nearly didn't make it off the starting blocks. When my wife told me she was pregnant she said you had to get the business up and running before the baby was born or else get a 'proper' job ... Isaac was born just 2 days after the first order came through, so the business was saved."
Business Minister Mark Prisk said: "We must do all that we can to inspire young people to develop their entrepreneurial talent, so it is great to see businesses such as Shell supporting aspiring entrepreneurs. Britain has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship and we are determined to help this pass to the next generation. I would like to offer my congratulations to Michael and the rest of the finalists."
UK Final and Shell LiveWIRE LIVE!
Michael impressed a range of judges including the BBC's The Apprentice winner Tim Campbell and Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Chief Executive Matthew Taylor throughout the whole day of judging. He fought off strong competition from across the UK in the eight-strong final from entrepreneurial talent spanning a range of sectors including product design, renewables and online commerce.
The runners up of Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year were:
- Laurence Kemball-Cook (Pavegen Systems) - Flooring tiles that convert kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable electricity. To be installed in Westfield, Statford City on the Olympics 2012 site.
- Chris Dodson (Concept Cupboard) - An online creative market place matching businesses with the next generation of creative talent to work on design and marketing projects.
- Rosemary Francis (Ellexus) - Software that solves integration and migration problems in complex software systems - particularly useful for companies seeking to move complex processes, such as chip design, into the cloud.
- David Grimes and Paul Haydock (myParcelDelivery.com) - A low-cost online courier service provider which offers competitive rates for small businesses, eBay sellers and the general public.
- Isabel Lizardi (Bare Conductive) - A non-toxic conductive paint for the creation of soft circuitry on a wide range of surfaces.
- Christopher Yeomans (Estriatus Energy) - A non-permanent, hydro turbine, which floats on the water's surface, rather than being cemented into a dam or other permanent structure.
- Joanna Montgomery (Little Riot) - An interactive design business that aims to connect people with technology such as 'Pillow Talk', a product aiming to connect long distance lovers via their pillows.
John MacArthur, VP of Shell CO2 Policy who hosted the awards said: "It's vital that we support and reward young entrepreneurs who demonstrate that innovative ideas can still flourish despite a difficult economic climate. The Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award provides a vital boost to entrepreneurs across the country and the calibre of the businesses we have seen this year has been particularly impressive. I wish Michael and the rest of the finalists all the best in the future."
The awards ceremony followed an action-packed day at Shell LiveWIRE LIVE!, an event for members of Shell LiveWIRE's 150,000 strong online community of entrepreneurs. The event provided a forum to share ideas and insights with young business people from around the country, as well as the chance to attend seminars and workshops and to put questions to top business talent from across the UK including Will King, the founder of King of Shaves) and Simon Woodroffe OBE, the founder of YO! Sushi.
Photos of Shell LiveWIRE LIVE! and the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award final can viewed on the Shell LiveWIRE Facebook page.