Blackwood Design Awards open for entries with a chance to win £2,000

Do you have an innovative idea that could enhance the lives of disabled people? If so, Blackwood wants to hear from you

Aspiring designers, engineers and inventors are being invited to enter the annual Blackwood Design Awards for a chance to win £2,000 and battle it out a Dragons’ Den-inspired event which organisers say has become a magnet for global talent.
Both gifted amateurs and seasoned professionals are being urged to submit their innovations designed to change the lives of disabled people.
Previous winners of Blackwood’s Best New Product have included a spoon that doesn’t spill and an eye-controlled wheelchair.
This year, a second category has been added to the competition to include Best New Concept.
Colin Foskett, head of innovation at Blackwood, which specialises in deploying technology to enhance care and housing, believes the move will double the chances to identify and champion breakthroughs that improve life for those with physical or mental disabilities.
He said: “We’ve been delighted with the way the annual awards have caught the imagination and developed into an important way to bring through genuinely revolutionary and life changing products.
“By adding the additional category for this year’s competition, we are aiming to support, and promote even more new design talent.
“Some of the designs we have previously seen are revolutionary and have benefited the lives of many others, and we expect this year’s designs to be no different.”
According to Blackwood, the most hotly contested category will remain Best New Concept, in which inventors and developers are invited to come forward with ideas that are not yet readily available.
It says that, with £2,000 up for grabs from sponsor Kingdom Gas, the lucky winner has a real chance of helping see their concept become a reality.
4c Design, which is one of Scotland’s top product design companies – who famously designed the Queen’s Baton for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – will also provide some professional support and guidance on design development.
Other benefits for the winning entries will include support from business law experts, Harper MacLeod, as well as product and development support from the team at Blackwood.
The Best New Product category will invite entries which are finalised concepts and are commercially available and could help niche or struggling products to breakthrough to a much wider audience.
Foskett added: “At Blackwood, our aim is to enable our customers and tenants to live their lives to the full and by investing in future technologies and equipment we believe we are successfully able to do this.
“Many previous entrants have gone on to achieve great things so it is definitely a worthwhile opportunity for all budding designers out there.”
Last year, ingenious entries included a hands-free computer mouse and an in-flight wheelchair. However, the spoon that doesn’t spill was crowned the winner, bringing benefits for people with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and other conditions which cause shaking.
Blackwood says the competition has built a reputation of enabling great success for winners, and entries now frequently come in from all over the globe, including Canada and Pakistan.
The organisation, which operates across Scotland, has been a leading name in the housing and care sector for 40 years and is renowned for its work in adapting properties to let people who are disabled, elderly or have sensory impairments, live independently.
To enter the competition, click here. 
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