Blueface Elevator got off to a flying start on Saturday 19th of May in Carphone Warehouse, Scotch Hall, Drogheda. The first heat of the competition attracted contestants from as far afield as Maynooth and Sligo with entries mainly in the technology and engineering sectors. We were honoured to be joined by special guest, Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd on the day and he kindly introduced the competition and welcomed contestants for us. An expert in technology and innovation, Mr. O’Dowd lives locally in Drogheda and takes a keen interest in business and development in the area.
Our judges for this heat were Mr. Alan Foy, CEO of Blueface, Mr. Nigel Heneghan, Managing Director of Heneghan PR and Ms. Caroline McManemy, Branch Manager Carphone Warehouse, Drogheda.
First up on the day was Michael Flanagan’s business, ‘Taxi Check-In’, which has developed a smartphone application for the taxi industry that focuses on promoting passenger safety. The judges were very taken with this original idea which uses QR codes and engagement with social media, to ensure passenger safety when travelling in a taxi which has been hailed on the street. Taxi Check-In has already made a lot of progress in carving out its place in the market, having taken guidance from a diverse range of sources such as taxi industry experts and regular taxi users. The company expects to be ready to go to market with his product in the next 12 months. An excerpt of Michael’s presentation may be viewed.
Full marks were given for innovation when Ben and Niall Barrett took the stage to introduce their company Benedict Research Company Ltd. They have developed KLIXXN, a deceptively simple and pioneering method of joining rigid sheets of metal together without the need for nuts, bolts, screws, rivets, welding or assembly tools. Currently used for sealed electrical enclosures, the Barretts explained how KLIXXN could have many other applications in all aspects of Construction and Engineering. With terrific feedback from industry experts and business development agencies, it appears Benedict Research will certainly be a company to watch.
Safety and Social Responsibility are high on the agenda for CleverMiles, who have developed a system of interactive driver monitoring, education and incentivisation which aims to reduce road traffic accidents and save lives. By monitoring driver patterns and using an online reward platform which allocates points for responsible driving, drivers are encouraged to improve their driving skills on an ongoing basis. From small beginnings as a student project, CleverMiles has grown to attract a lot of media and investor attention and is now almost ready to launch in the Irish and UK market.
Personal safety was again highlighted by Bernadette Price from Big Red Button with her presentation on a smartphone app developed by her company which provides a personal emergency support service for users in crisis situations. Selecting the app immediately connects the user to a dedicated and highly trained support team who can assist the user with a wide range of challenges; from being lost, to falling and injuring oneself at home, to feeling threatened or in danger. The Big Red Button service works alongside the emergency services and fills the gap where users may feel ill at ease but do not believe there is really a need to call the emergency services.
The judges were sincerely impressed with the very high standard of entrants at this event and had a tough time deciding on one winner from the group. In the end, CleverMiles won the heat by a narrow margin and they will now go through to the final on the 14th of July in Carphone Warehouse, Grafton Street. However, before that, we still have 6 more heats to get through and we are already looking forward to our next date in Galway on the 2nd of June. There is still time to apply for a place at this heat and to do so, just email a 100-word overview of your business, along with your contact details and your preferred date, to firstname.lastname@example.org. As well as entrants to the competition, all are welcome to come along and watch the presentations; there really are some inspiring ideas out there!