This year’s installment of the Intuit QuickBooks – Small Business Local Buzz is now sadly over, and we must thank all of you who took part. In the end, we had over 1,000 entrants, more than 66,500 votes and 280,000 views – we wish we could have given everyone a prize.
We do have a grand winner to announce. Of the 1,000 plus participants, we must congratulate The Open Hand Project for their achievement and their victory – £10,000 will be winging its way to you.
The idea for The Open Hand Project was born when Joel Gibbard, the founder of the company and an engineer by training, was studying robotics at the University of Plymouth. While there he made his first robotic hand, and learned about the inaccessibility of robotic prosthetic hands and knew he could use his skills to make a difference.
After University Joel launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to develop a low-cost robotic hand. The development is now well underway and soon people will be able to wear The Open Hand Project’s hands as prosthetic devices.
We asked how he felt about winning Small Business Local Buzz?
“Overjoyed, it’s wonderful to receive recognition for your work and even better when you’re doing something you really love. Winning this competition has made me feel even more enthusiastic and motivated towards achieving my goals.
“This grant means that I can start to grow the business. It could really be the make or break contribution to the company because it means I can hire someone and move much closer towards selling products.”
Leading prosthetics can cost up to $100,000, but by using emerging technologies like 3D printing, as The Open Hand Project does, the cost can be pulled down to under $1,000, helping to reach a far wider audience.
The business has a clear humanitarian interest and shares all of its work online. No patents are filed and not only are designs shared online, but they are accompanied by instructions to help other people build the hands Joel designs. This helps the Project be far-reaching globally and prevent red tape and import taxes getting in the way of people receiving low-cost prosthetics.
So what would be the Grand Prize winner’s Number 1 piece of advice?
“Talk to people, give them the time of day and treat everyone with the same respect. You never know when you might need someone’s help or might find a situation where you can strike up a mutually beneficial deal. Everyone has valuable skills even if you or they don’t realise it at the time you meet them.”
Huge congratulations again to this year’s winner! We wish Joel all the best for the future, and thank you to all the small businesses across the UK that participated in the competition.
Grand Prize winner: Open Hand Project
- Habibi Kitchen
- Shop Scotland
- Scavenger Anni
- Quarry Accountancy
- Jacob’s Den
- Hamstead Soundworks
- Cambridge Raincoat Company
- Afflux Energy Drink
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Here are some happy faces of the winners so far. Read their stories and “like” to support small businesses.