SIE Icon

Case Study

Victoria Hamilton

Founder, VH Innovation Ltd.

Thu, 30 July 2015

Victoria Hamilton is a graduate from the University of Strathclyde in Product Design Engineering. Victoria is the founder of VH Innovation and the Recoil Kneepad which is a new generation of kneepads for manual trade workers.

How VH Innovation got started

The idea to develop the Recoil Kneepad was encouraged by Victoria’s father who suffered from painful knees from the ineffective kneepads that he wore for his job as a joiner.

 

“My dad came home from work one night with really sore knees. I said, ‘Dad what can I do for my final year project?’ and he said ‘Why don’t you design a kneepad?’”Victoria Hamilton
After initially rejecting the idea, Victoria decided to explore the problem further for her final year project at university. Brainstorming with classmates led to the creation of the double layer, spring system that would distribute weight evenly across the knee joint and reduce pain and discomfort. As her project developed, and the feedback from her dad improved, Victoria’s project supervisor suggested entering the idea into business competitions including the Young Innovators Challenge which Victoria won in 2013.

 

“The biggest skill is developing your confidence. I never really thought that I could run a business or have an idea that has any potential.” Victoria Hamilton

What happened next

Victoria reached out to support agencies including SIE, Princes Trust and the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network to help secure funding to work with an experienced design agency.

The next step was to prove the concept through stringent testing at the bioengineering lab at Strathclyde University which was funded by Scottish Enterprise. Once the concept had been proven, the aesthetics were developed further and a manufacture-ready prototype was created.

Once the prototype was ready, Victoria was able to use her contacts to arrange meetings with companies where she gained positive feedback from construction workers.

After graduating, Victoria secured a place as a‘chicklet’ in one of the Entrepreneurial Spark hatcheries. She then went onto win the second prize of £5,000 in SIE’s New Ventures Competition at the 2015 SIE Annual Student Enterprise Summit. Since then, Victoria has since been out to display the Recoil Kneepad at a trade show in Las Vegas.

 

“[Winning the Young Innovators Challenge] has been quite literally a life changing event. I had a graduate scheme lined up, but winning that money has enabled me to go and set up my business and start thinking about commercialising my idea.”Victoria Hamilton

 

 

Next steps for VH Innovation

Having focused full time on this project for over a year and a half, Victoria has now finalised her design and plans to manufacture and distribute it herself in the UK. She is also currently in discussions with a potential licencing partner in the US. VH Innovation is now accepting pre-orders on their website.

 

“People are really willing to help. You’ve just got to go and ask for it.”Victoria Hamilton

 

If you want to find out more about VH Innovation and their first product Recoil Kneepads, visit the websites;

www.vhinnovation.com
www.recoilkneepads.com