29 Oct 2013

North East mum wins second place at national entrepreneurial awards

One of the region’s up and coming female entrepreneurs shortlisted for the national “Rattles to Riches” award at this year’s Baby Show in London (25 October), has come second place for her highly commended cot invention, Kare Kot.

The awards, designed to recognise product innovation in the nursery sector, support budding entrepreneurs and propel a host of new products into the spotlight and onto the shelves of well-known retailers.

Katharine Paterson from Capheaton, Northumberland, was shortlisted from over 50 entries for the award which was presented at London Olympia. Katharine, who works at Newcastle University, presented her invention alongside three finalists to a dragon’s den style panel of influential industry voices including former Apprentice winner Tom Pellereau.

Whilst Katharine didn’t go on to win the award, her invention, a three-stage bed system which inter-changes between cradle, cot and bed, was highly commended by the expert panel of judges. The invention was also recently showcased at the InnovateNE conference in Newcastle, where Katharine met CEO of JoJo Maman Bébé, Laura Tenison MBE.

Katharine commented: “I wouldn’t call myself an inventor by any means but when I had my daughter four years ago and saw her evolve from being a baby into a very active toddler, I realised there weren’t any cots available in which I thought she would be completely safe.”

When researching what cot Katharine would buy for her own baby, she discovered that toddlers often get their limbs stuck in traditional cot bars. Toddlers can even suffocate from the cot bumpers used to protect them from bumps and scrapes as they become more mobile in their cots.

“That was when I thought there must be a better way and set about designing a product that ticked all of the safety boxes whilst being practical and stylish. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award. It has given me a huge amount of confidence both in my product and my business and I’m now looking to fund the next stage of its development,” Katharine added.

In 2011 Katharine approached the Business Support team at Newcastle Science City with her idea and received business start-up support and advice to help develop the initial concept into a product to take to market.

Dave Stevens, Business Support Manager at Newcastle Science City commented: “We are delighted that Katharine’s hard work has been recognised through reaching the finals of these prestigious industry awards. It recognises not only the great investment of time and effort on her part, but also the huge market potential for her innovative product which has already attracted the attention of some of the UK’s leading retailers.”

Kare Kot is expected to hit the shelves in 2014.

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