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University Of York And Entrepreneurial Spark To Develop And Pitch A ‘Healthy Ageing’ Product

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More than 20 students from All Saints RC School, York, were invited to take part and tasked with solving a business problem around ageing. Solutions could include creating healthy active places, design for age-friendly homes, or supporting social connections.

The winning team designed ‘Theraflex’ – a therapeutic slipper designed to aid mobility in the 70+ age demographic. The reflexology slipper the students’ designed targeted pressure points when walking to encourage mobility.

New skills

Reflecting on the event at the Guildhall, Sam Gardner, Director of Enterprise Works at the University of York, said “I was really impressed by the students, their energy and focus during the pitches. It’s clear that they learnt new skills and became more confident as the week progressed. The standard of the competition was very high!”

Creating their pitch, the students all aged 15 and 16, practised entrepreneurial thinking skills, employability skills, and honed their creativity, confidence and resilience.

Sarah Bilton, Head of Business at All Saints RC School, said: “Our students developed some excellent ideas from the brief. It was clear that they all grew in confidence across the week, and this meant their ‘pitches’ at the Guildhall to the judges were exceptionally professional.

“They confidently handled questions about their ideas with knowledge, passion and expertise. This opportunity has given them the chance to understand more about business, which they are all studying, and develop some of the skills required to be a successful entrepreneur.”

Career path

Entrepreneurial Spark is one of the world’s most successful accelerators for entrepreneurs. The programme is designed to promote entrepreneurship as a legitimate career path and aimed to provide access routes for underprivileged children who would normally face greater barriers to starting a business later in life.

The week-long programme was also in partnership with York College, York St John University and Askham Bryan College.