Dragons Den entrepreneur launches University design competition

News Page 12th November 2015

Joe shared his experience of starting his own business and launched a design competition to create the designs for the ‘Grumpy Gardener’, his new range of gardening products.

Joe and his father shot to gardening fame when they appeared on Dragons Den, pitching their company and first product the Wheelbarrow Booster. The Wheelbarrow Booster is an ingenious product, designed to increase the capacity of a wheelbarrow for moving large volumes of materials.

The dragons were so impressed with the product, that Duncan Bannatyne and Hilary Devey made the father/son duo a joint offer of £50,000 for a 50 per cent share of the company. After considering the offer they turned it down, not keen to give away such a large share.  Since their appearance on Dragons Den, the Wheelbarrow Booster has gained in popularity; Joe is now in talks with B&Q to supply products to them.

Joe, who lives in Kingsthorpe said: “I really enjoyed my time at the University of Northampton; so I thought I was important to stay involved with the student community after I graduated.

“I’ve always been keen to support the University and students, as the University plays a large part in supporting local business.  I wanted to help design students get practical experience that would be useful once they graduated. This competition will give them creative experience of creating graphics for a real product. I’m really looking forward to seeing the design entries.”

Alex Taylor, Lecturer in Graphic Communication at the University of Northampton said: “The University has strong links with our alumni community and regularly welcome them back to share their story, especially people like Joe, who have such an interesting story to tell to our current students.

“Taking Joe’s design competition brief and creating his new branding will be a great project for our students and will give them a taste for what their future careers may hold. Creating the design concepts for Joe will be a good addition to students’ portfolios.

The design concepts will be shortlisted by Joe, lecturer Alex Taylor and industry experts in February, before being launched in 2014.

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