NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Aston Science Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2007/04/10 - A Coventry man who developed a pioneering mobility scooter trailer for his wife is now breaking into the North American market with his product.
Steve Whitmore – whose wife Zelda is an MS sufferer who uses a mobility scooter – invented and developed the Freedom Carrier with support from the Advantage West Midlands-funded Innovation Networks programme.
The Freedom Carrier attaches to the back of the mobility scooter and can hold up to six shopping bags.
The idea came about after Steve noticed that shopping trips were restricted by the limited storage space on the scooter, which often led to unsafely using handlebars to hang bags of shopping.
The former motor-breakdown salesman developed the stylish trailer and has now set up Freedom Enterprises to make and sell the Carrier and already around 100 have been sold, including a current order of 400 to the North American market.
Innovation Networks is a project funded by Advantage West Midlands (advantagewm.co.uk), which provides grants to groups of companies who are collaborating on the development of an innovative product, process or service.
The Innovation Networks programme helped Steve develop and test the Freedom Carrier to tough market and safety specifications.
Steve Whitmore said: “In the UK alone, there are about 150,000 mobility scooter users and every year 50,000 scooters are sold.
“My wife uses one of these scooters and the idea came about when I realised there was a real shortage of storage space.”
“The Carrier is easy to attach, has plenty of storage space and is lockable so that it completely secure.”
“The support from Advantage West Midlands and Innovation Networks has been invaluable in helping me to turn my idea into reality, especially with getting the moulding right for the trailer.”
Dr Phil Extance, Advantage West Midlands Director of Innovation, said: “One of the key challenges our region faces is in innovation and the development of new products and processes.
“The Freedom Carrier is a fantastic example of how innovation can come from the most basic of ideas and, with a bit of support from Advantage West Midlands, has been able to bring the product to the market.”
“Having a great idea is one thing – getting it to the marketplace is a different thing altogether and we’re delighted to have been able to help make this happen through Innovation Networks.”