Entrepreneur Tom Warrender is hoping to secure £50,000 of business support by pitching his innovative drug awareness business to former Dragon’s Den panellist Doug Richard and Apprentice winner Tim Campbell.
Simulator ‘Stan’ is taken into schools for awareness workshops by Tom, who developed his business, Get Set Schools, with support from the University of Wolverhampton.
Tom will have just three minutes to sell his business to the TV stars in the finals of entrepreneur competition The Pitch, before answering questions in front of an audience in London on November 16.
Tom, from Wolverhampton, has also been shortlisted for the Best Business Plan at the Start Up Awards on November 13.
The entrepreneur received business support from the University through the I-cubed project, funded by Advantage West Midlands, 18 months ago. A physiologist by background, Tom wanted to produce a hands-on way of educating young people about the dangers of drugs and also about different careers available in the medical profession.
The project, run by the Institute of Innovation and Enterprise at the University of Wolverhampton Business School, set Tom up with a business mentor, Gary Lennon from Ideas2Reality, who helped him to develop his idea.
Tom uses a patient simulator, nicknamed Stan, which can blink, talk, cry, sweat and even have a seizure in science and health workshops for school students in years 8, 9 and 10. So far he has visited schools in Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton, but it is hoped he will be able to take his business all over the country.
Tom, 29, said: “The idea was to show children how drugs work on the body and help them to make decisions about their health and career aspirations. Everyone has heard of doctors and nurses but they may not have heard of cardiologists and physiologists, and this allows us to demonstrate the different careers available in the health sector.
“The children love the simulator and as it is like a living person, they can interact with it. I have had children say they are thinking about what they would do as a career following the sessions.
“It is really exciting to be doing this. We believe we are quite unique and can help to influence young people in what they want to. I could not have done all this without the support of the I-cubed project and the University of Wolverhampton.”
Sarah Taylor, I-cubed Project Manager, from the University, said: “When Tom approached us we immediately recognised that his great idea had exciting potential. He has worked extremely hard and along with assistance from Gary Lennon, he has not only got his business off the ground but is now managing to make a real difference in our local schools.”
To reach the national finals of The Pitch, Tom fought off competition from five other businesses by pitching his concept to businessmen and women, including Deidrie Bounds, in Birmingham. If he wins at the national finals he will win £50,000 of business support, including time with Doug Richard and Tim Campbell to look over the business and a free PR campaign for the company.
Prior to launching his business, Tom was a lecturer in Physiology at Birmingham City University.
For more information, visit http://www.getsetschools.co.uk/
Picture: Tom Warrender with his wife, Davina Warrender.
Notes to editors
The I-cubed project, funded by Advantage West Midlands, provided 133 local businesses within the West Midlands with business support over a five year period and helped to create 45 new businesses, 101 new jobs and secured 79 jobs in the region.
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