20 March 2017

An engineer from Devon is on a journey into entrepreneurship with his innovation that could reach international markets within the military and humanitarian aid, thanks to support from Heart of the South West Growth Hub.

Stephen Bright is a principal engineer specialising in bridge design. He has used the knowledge and skills from his day job to come up with a concept for a product that supports personnel in rescue operations, the armed forces and aid workers.

His innovation is a portable bridging structure made of lightweight materials which will enable personnel to safely cross an area of up to 50 feet.

Full details of his brand are still under wraps, but with the support of Heart of the South West Growth Hub, Stephen has been able to access the support and advice he needed around intellectual property. This includes securing three trademarks and patenting to protect his product as he launches to an international market.

He said: “The most surprising and helpful suggestion I received from my Growth Hub adviser was to go to Exeter Library, where they hold a Business and IP Centre. I never thought that something as simple as going to my local library would help me move forward.

“I attended a number of evening talks about IP and marketing, and from that I was able to begin the route to patenting my product.”

The Growth Hub were also able to introduce Stephen to a local business support service in Exeter where he received one to one advice on his business. He is now preparing for his product to head to a trade event in Europe where it can be introduced to the military.

Support from the Growth Hub has also enabled Stephen to develop professionally, from a product designer to an entrepreneur and business owner.

He said: “I’m now motivated by all I have learnt. At first, I just wanted to design the product but now I’ve been understanding what goes into running a business. I’ve learnt that no one is prepared to back a business unless you run with it. I would recommend anyone starting out in business to contact the Growth Hub team who can help you benefit from services you would have been unlikely to find on your own.”


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