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Time to lend a Helping Hand


Oct 3, 2018

A North East entrepreneur has received support from RTC North to develop an innovative clock to help those with special educational needs and people living with dementia.

Suzanne Andrews came up with the idea for the Now and Next Clock whilst working in a special needs school. With LED lights illuminating a progress bar and magnetic photographs users know what their schedule includes for the day.

After attending a start-up workshop at RTC North, Suzanne was then welcomed onto the Pathways to Innovation programme which is designed to help businesses protect and commercialise new technologies, products, services and processes and access new markets.

The programme is funded through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is delivered by RTC North in partnership with the Business & Intellectual Property Centre Newcastle. Pathways to Innovation gives companies access to one to one support from expert innovation advisors with expertise in market research and competitor analysis, IP commercialisation and product licencing.

The Now and Next clocks are now used in Washington Grange Care Home who want to replicate this idea in all their care homes across the UK, Suzanne explains:

“Once the clock was developed I realised it would work for people suffering from dementia. I initially attended a start-up workshop at RTC ran my Mica MacInnes. From there I met with Carl Brown.”

Business Innovation and Growth Manager, Carl Brown, works on Pathways to Innovation programme and introduced Suzanne to Microchip Technology. Together they quickly built a fully functional prototype which was included in the Great Exhibition of the North, Suzanne continues:

“It has proved very successful and everyone I have worked with have been so helpful, including it’s P&D Caterfab who produced the framing for the clocks. Carl has been very helpful with advice regarding Intellectual Property Protection, as well as making introductions to companies who I can work in synergy with.”

Carl added: “When we first met at RTC North, Suzanne had a concept for a mechanical clock. It has been a fantastic journey to turn this concept into a digital reality. It has been particularly pleasing to see this product develop from prototype to first sales. Suzanne should be proud to have produced such a high-quality product, and to making it available to markets in as diverse sectors as Education and Care Homes.  It has been a pleasure to have supported her in this process.”