Shell LiveWIRE’s innovators on the road to great business success
Aug 16, 2012
30 years after it was launched*, Shell LiveWIRE is now one of the UK’s longest running youth enterprise awards programmes and boasts countless innovative new products and services. Two recent Shell LiveWIRE entrepreneurs with great business ideas are going from strength to strength:
Since winning the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the year award in 2011 along with £10,000 for his KwickScreen invention, Michael Korn’s business has taken off and grown tremendously. KwickScreens are retractable room dividers that allow healthcare professionals to make the best use of available space to give maximum privacy, protection and dignity to patients.
A recently announced contract with Newham Hospital in the UK brings the number of NHS hospitals now using the screens to 60 – an astounding achievement for a business only two years old. Not only does the company supply KwickScreens to various healthcare organisations but it also now serve a client base using it in offices, schools and exhibitions dividing up open spaces.
"Winning the Shell UK LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year title has really helped us to grow and expand and today KwickScreens are selling to eight countries in three continents with our biggest exporting markets being Italy, USA and the Netherlands. We have just sold 60 screens to the Dutch government which will be used to set up remote dental clinics in school halls in deprived areas where dental care is not that accessible.
This is our largest single order to date!” says Michael.
“Every milestone for us is important as we continue to help hospitals and estates managers both in the UK and globally to deliver a professional and personalised service.”
Equally successful is 2011 Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Winner Laurence Kemball-Cook, whose state of the art paving is now lighting the outside area of the busy Westfield Shopping Centre in London Stratford, the largest shopping centre in Europe, as well as the footbridge at West Ham tube station whose business is set to double its turnover just two years after it was set up.
The paving tile, Pavegen, invented by Kemball-Cook harvests the wasted kinetic energy from each footstep and converts it into useful, off-grid renewable power which can be used to power things such as street lights and advertising hoardings.
“We installed in Bulgaria last year after winning the Shell LiveWIRE Awards. The exposure has really raised our profile internationally and now our tiles are used to power street lights in the centre of Sofia,” adds Laurence.
Christelle Langenhoven, Shell LiveWIRE Programme Manager says, “In a time when so many small businesses are finding it hard to keep head above water it is incredibly encouraging to see that the innovative businesses that come through the programme go on and achieve these amazing growth results. Through Shell LiveWIRE we are supporting and encouraging the best and most innovative start-up businesses to develop and grow with many of our winners currently operating on an international level.
Over the last 30 years Shell LiveWIRE has delivered some of the most successful small businesses in the UK with one of our first winners back in 1984, Gael Force Marine, now turning over around £20 million annually and employing 180 staff members.”
Shell LiveWIRE runs the Grand Ideas Awards where up to four £1,000 awards are given to very early stage innovative businesses every month. In addition, an annual Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award of £10,000 is made to one entrepreneur to help their business grow to the next level. August is the last month to enter your business for the Grand Ideas Awards in order to qualify for the 2012 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award that takes place in November 2012.
*The Shell LiveWIRE programme began in 1982 in Glasgow, Scotland, as a way to share the benefits of the North Sea oil boom. Then, as now, it helped tackle unemployment by inviting business proposals from people aged 16-30 and advising them how to develop their own companies. The approach quickly spread and today LiveWIRE exists in 17 countries where Shell has operations.