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UCLan partnership leads to entrepreneur’s award

16 October 2012

Lyndsey Boardman

Simon is Northern entrepreneur of the year following University collaboration

A Northern businessman has been awarded for his entrepreneurial skills after working with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to create the next generation running shoe. 

Simon Spinks, the Managing Director of the Yorkshire based bed-making company Harrison Spinks, has received the prestigious Ernst & Young Northern Entrepreneur of the Year for Technology Commercialisation Award for his innovation, entrepreneurship and vision in using mattress technology within other markets.

Simon is one of 40 outstanding individuals from some of the country’s most successful businesses that were recognised in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

The Yorkshire based bed manufacturer is aiming to reduce impact on the runner by integrating its unique height pocket springs into the sole of the running shoe, replacing the traditional foam base.  The technology works by embedding Micro Pocket Springs into the mid sole to provide suspension and is already used in bedding and automotive seating.

“By working with UCLan the manufacturing company has received independent scientific data needed to move to the next stage of development. We hope to continue with this successful relationship and innovative research.”

Harrison Spinks is working closely with UCLan Biomechanics expert Professor Jim Richards and colleague Melissa Sutcliffe to run intensive tests assessing whether the modified shoe reduces impact on the foot during running and its potential to reduce sports injuries and improve performance.

The UCLan team are currently using state-of-the-art movement analysis equipment to test the next generation running shoe technology which Harrison Spinks hopes to eventually sell to shoe manufacturers.

Professor Richards commented: “It’s fantastic news that Simon Spinks has been recognised for his entrepreneurial vision. Since embarking on this knowledge transfer partnership Harrison Spinks has benefitted from the abundance of knowledge and expertise on offer at UCLan.

“By working with UCLan the manufacturing company has received independent scientific data needed to move to the next stage of development. We hope to continue with this successful relationship and innovative research.”

"We believe that this joint project has given us a fresh direction into the area of sport footwear and protective equipment and our relationship with UCLan was instrumental in developing and improving this product.”

Elated with the news, Simon Spinks, managing director of Harrison Spinks commented: “This is an important accolade and I am very honoured to have been recognised amongst the North’s most dynamic and successful Entrepreneurs.

“The Harrison Spinks strategy has always been to be different and better, reinventing the mattress by improving all of its components. We believe that this joint project has given us a fresh direction into the area of sport footwear and protective equipment and our relationship with UCLan was instrumental in developing and improving this product.”

It is the 14th year that Ernst & Young have run the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the UK. They celebrate the most inspiring entrepreneurs through the regional awards programmes and Simon made an impression with his innovation, entrepreneurship, his vision for using mattress technology within other markets, and his desire to grow the business globally.