Livingston business Turtle Pack has been selected to participate in Pitch@Palace 10.0 Final, the initiative founded by The Duke of York in 2014 as a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of Entrepreneurs.
The revolutionary product for the next generation of swimmers is set to hit the market in early 2019.
Turtle Pack is a swimming aid that sits on a child’s back, and was created by Livingston-based Michael Harkins after becoming frustrated with other restrictive equipment.
Michael launched and successfully met his KickStarter fundraising target last month – selling around 150 products.
The 25-year-old is looking to follow up that investment up by also winning the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards where £20,000 is up for grabs.
Michael has made a shortlist ahead of 30 other entries to present to around 400 people at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday, November 15 – with the winner securing a £10,000 cash injection and £10,000 worth of business mentoring and accountancy advice.
Michael’s invention was inspired by ten years spent as a swimming instructor where he showed glimpses of his entrepreneurial talent from when he was 18 years old, after taking charge of swimming lessons for Livingston & District Dolphins Swimming Club at his local leisure centre in Livingston.
“The key to attracting children to swim is to make sure that they have fun, and this is a product that does away with arm bands and floats to allow children to move freely through water whilst they’re learning to swim,” said Michael.
“It’s been developed carefully with parents and swimming instructors, and the time I’ve taken to carefully develop the product has paid off after gaining international interest in the product from retailers and distributors.
“The plan between now and the New Year is to lay the foundations ready for me to fully launch the product online in the New Year.
“The extra investment from Baldwins will contribute to helping me to recruit two people in business development and marketing roles before we go live with the product.
“It’s vital that people know they can buy the product from the word go, so we can grow straight away and at the right pace.”
Turtle Pack recently received the personal endorsement from business tycoon, Sir Richard Branson, where he said: “Love the Turtle Pack idea, swimming aids to help make learning to swim fun for kids – our grandchildren are loving them.”