Young inventor to target expansion

Ruth Amos
Ruth Amos
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Entrepreneur Ruth Amos has set her sights on international expansion and a multi-million pound turnover for the business she has built on a product she developed while studying for GCSEs.

Ruth, 22, who originally wanted to be a barrister, designed the Stairsteady handrail after being challenged by her teacher to create a product which would allow the elderly and stroke victims to use stairs independently.

She went on to win the Young Engineer for Britain contest while she was still at school and, four years after going into production, is on target to distribute 1,000 Stairsteady handrails in the next year.

However, she wants to increase that figure considerably and take annual sales past £3million.

Ruth wants to expand overseas through a series of licensing and distribution agreements and has appointed Sheffield-based national law firm Irwin Mitchell to provide advice.

Irwin Mitchell solicitor Kerry Smith said: “Stairsteady has a fantastic product with huge potential and we are really excited about working with Ruth to help ensure the company’s international plans really take off.

“Irwin Mitchell is currently advising Stairsteady on its plan to license its intellectual property rights to a number of overseas-based manufacturers and distributors. This can be a popular route for small businesses with aspirations to expand into new countries, but it can also be difficult for entrepreneurs as they often fear they’ll lose the hands-on management that they have previously had.”

Ruth Amos said: “The UK market provides significant opportunities for Stairsteady, but I’m keen to ensure Stairsteady taps into other markets and takes full advantage of its intellectual property rights. I’m extremely excited about the future for Stairsteady.”

The Sheffield Business Awards, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Thursday, December 5, 2013, 7pm to 2am. Black tie/evening dress. Guest speaker Countryfile TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Tickets from £85. Visit www.sheffieldbusinessawards.org.uk