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Sunday, July 21, 2024

National Innovation Award awarded to young Lancashire entrepreneur

From Clitheroe, 24 year old Conor Walsh developed the tool for electricians to reduce waste when they are wiring, promising to make the world a better place.

A trained electrician, Conor has been recognised with a Young Innovator Award from Innovate UK, an arms length public body of the UK Government. 

He created ReelHelp, a tool for electricians to reduce waste when they are wiring. The device clips to the electrician’s belt so they can pull out the exact length they need.

The young entrepreneur is also the Founder of the Patch App, the tech company which raised £250,000 from investors in the second half of 2022, and aims to connect customers with window cleaners. He founded the business alongside Paul White, who came up with the idea for The Modern Milkman. 

The Young Innovators competition received almost 700 applicants and Conor will take a share of the £1.25 million prize fund. He was previously a winner of the Lancashire Innovation Challenge in 2023.

He joins 92 other young people aged 18 to 30 with business ideas that could change the world and will benefit from a grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance.

Just ten months ago, Conor was still working on site as an electrician at Hanson Cement in Clitheroe. Commenting on the last year he said “It’s been an absolute whirlwind, but it shows, when you have an idea and you put your mind to it and crack on, you can totally change your life”.

On the Award he said “This Award is not just a great recognition of the idea, but it provides some great support and mentoring which will help me get the product to market over the next year”.

He is keen to help other young people in Lancashire too, who might have their own ideas, adding “I want to bring this knowledge back to the County and encourage others to do well too, and I’ve set up a community to help share what I learn, at www.letsgetit.uk. We’re a great County of makers, and I am really keen to encourage others like us. 

Indro Mukerjee, chief executive of Innovate UK, added: “The Innovate UK Young Innovators program is an important part of our many activities to strongly develop the talent pipeline needed to further drive our innovation nation.”

“I warmly congratulate all the Young Innovators Award winners and look forward to keeping in touch as they progress.”

The business is based in Pendle, and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson CBE MP said “Conor is a very bright young man, full of energy. It’s great to see that he’s bringing his innovations to Pendle and I look forward to continuing to work with him”.

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