Irish markets open up to city inventor

Ruth Amos, of StairSteady (left), and Deborah Niven, of SHlw Commercial Lawyers' Young Business Team
Ruth Amos, of StairSteady (left), and Deborah Niven, of SHlw Commercial Lawyers' Young Business Team
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Irish eyes are smiling on young engineer and entrepreneur Ruth Amos.

Ruth, who launched Sheffield-based StairSteady to develop her innovative ideas for a device that helps elderly and infirm people negotiate stairs safely, has won her first order from the Emerald Isle.

The winner of the Young Engineer for Britain contest in 2006 includes the NHS, housing associations and local authorities among her clients.

Now, with the help of Sheffield-based Hlw Commercial Lawyers, she has clinched a distribution agreement that is already paying dividends.

Ruth, who is 21, had the idea for the StairSteady when she was 15 and developed it as part of her GCSE studies.

She said: “We’re thrilled to have sold our first StairSteady in Ireland and are looking forward to bringing the benefits of mobility to a wider market place.

“We expect to sell around 40 products a month in Ireland.

“That’s not a huge amount, but StairSteady is not about piling high and selling cheap.

“We are all about adding value to our customers and improving their quality of life.

“Our passion for quality and innovation and for helping people is what motivates us as a business.”

Deborah Niven, from Hlw Commercial Lawyers’ young business team, advised StairSteady on the Irish distribution agreement.

She said: “It’s great to see such a go-ahead young Sheffield company branching out and maximising the potential of its products overseas.

“StairSteady is a brilliant example of Yorkshire innovation that has the potential to improve safety and mobility for people in the UK, Ireland and beyond.”