A team of young entrepreneurs were invited to exhibit alongside rapid manufacturing specialists 3D Printing Engineering (3DPE) at the recent Wearable Technology Show, after their planned excursion to a New York Business Showcase was cancelled due to lack of funding.

The four pupils, from Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College, St Joseph’s College, St Martin’s Academy and The Norwood School, were expected to travel to the US after receiving the silver award in an EU-wide enterprise competition. When the trip fell through, Brett Rust, Director and Co-Founder of 3DPE, stepped in to offer the team the chance to share his exhibition stand at the show, as reward for their hard work and achievement.

“It was a priviledge to work with such a talented group of young people,” said Brett. “What stood out for me was how well they conducted and presented themselves, from our initial meetings to discuss the project, all the way through to the two days they spent with us at the exhibition. We wanted to match their efforts and give them something to present their idea with confidence. I hope this experience will spur them onto greater things. It goes to show that persistence and coping with adversity are key attributes to fulfilling your goals as an entrepreneur.”

The students, Hubbab Nasir, Theophilus Quashie-Apeatse, Sarah Msouhli and Davisha Callender, developed a business concept called Lumiere while participating in a summer workshop programme run by the Network for Teaching Young Entrepreneurs CIC last year. NTYE is a social enterprise helping young people to enhance their employability through entrepreneurship.

Following an introduction by Sussex Innovation, 3DPE became involved in the venture by helping to produce a prototype of the Lumiere product, a power band worn as a bracelet, which stores kinetic and thermal energy to charge mobile phones through a USB device.

The project was ideally suited to the capabilities of 3DPE, whose rapid prototyping service is intended to help entrepreneurs quickly produce limited runs of professional quality prototypes using a range of materials. In this case, the band’s main body was 3D printed using a rubber-like material, with a translucent green screen produced in resin.

The Lumiere prototype was delivered in January, after the team had travelled to Budapest to compete alongside other young entrepreneurs from across the EU.

“The Lumiere team can be extremely proud of themselves after receiving the silver award from the panel in Budapest, especially considering that they were the youngest participants, coming from one of the shortest entrepreneurship programmes,” said Usha Kong, Managing Director of the Network for Teaching Young Entrepreneurs. “They were understandably very disappointed that they were unable to celebrate their success by going on to the New York Business Showcase, so we were very grateful to Brett for his invitation to join him at the Wearable Technology Show.”

3D Printing Engineering Director Brett Rust, and members of the Lumiere team show off their product

“The exhibition was such an amazing opportunity for the team, because it really felt like the work we put in is paying off,” said Hubbab Nasir, CEO of Lumiere. “We were able to meet amazing people who were truly impressed by our product, and received a great response from passers-by. Being young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, we recognise that opportunities such as this are unfortunately not as common as they should be. However the exhibition gave us a great platform to display our hard work. The appreciation we received was humbling, and made us realise that young enthusiastic people like us can go into the business world.”

“Going to the exhibition for me personally was a great learning experience, as I have never participated in such events hands-on,” said Sarah Msouhli of Lumiere. “The exhibition was a chance to interest people in helping us move on with our product, but also helped us grow as young entrepreneurs. I left the show with contact information of people that wanted to work with us, people we wanted to work with, and a smile on my face knowing that we are one step closer to reaching our goal of running our business.”