A NEW ideas incubator that brings together inventors, entrepreneurs and investors has hit the road running after picking up 30 potential projects within a few weeks of being launched.
The business, known as ThinkOn!, is based at Newburgh Engineering’s Bradwell Works.
It is working in partnership with Sheffield Digital Campus-based intellectual property experts Withers Rodgers, Advanced Manufacturing Park design specialists Fripp and AMP-based engineering consultancy, Performance Engineered Solutions.
Newburgh Engineering chairman Vince Middleton believes many people with great ideas don’t know how to turn them into products, raise funding and find markets.
“It’s really frustrating. There must be lots of people with ideas in this region who haven’t got the wherewithal, the skills or the finance to take them further,” says Mr Middleton.
“We want to create a vehicle that they will be comfortable using, where they will be able to talk about their ideas.”
ThinkOn! is already pursuing novel funding options, like “crowd funding” – where a number of people make small investments in a potential business to get it off the ground.
The company is also looking at ways of harnessing the enthusiasm and skills of students to provide some of the expertise the inventors need.
Vince Middleton cites the example of a marketing student who is developing a promotional campaign for one invention in return for a share in the potential business.
The student is also using the experience as part of the portfolio she needs for her degree.
Think On! projects span sectors ranging from games and pastimes to outdoor pursuits and sports coaching, dentistry and dieting to industry and the licensed trade.
Heading ThinkOn! is 19-year old Sean Maloney from Hillsborough, who has already cut his entrepreneurial teeth by working with a mentor on turning around a subsidiary Newburgh acquired in the North East.
“The business is aimed at young people taking a creative ‘seed’ idea that with some nurturing and advice, will develop into a sapling and then hopefully the next big thing,” says Sean, who is currently studying for a management degree.
“We’re creating sustainable businesses by promoting innovation whilst supporting young business-minded people, with the long-term outlook of creating jobs and wealth for our region.”
The ThinkOn! team is practising what it preaches.
Helping Sean are Vince Middleton’s daughters Maddie and Rebecca – who is currently studying forensic and analytical chemistry at Manchester University – and Sheffield College student Josh Greveson, who is also acting as the entrepreneur for one of the projects that ThinkOn! is backing.