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York designer represents ‘Best of British’

Published: 13 June 2012

A product designer from York is hoping that creative design, quality products and contracts with major national retailers will be enough to fight off stiff competition and take her one step closer to being crowned National University Entrepreneur 2012.

York St John University graduate Heather Alstead was shortlisted in the competition finals, which take place at York Racecourse on Tuesday 19 June, on the strength of her ‘100% British’ range of products for house and home.

The ‘in house’ fairy tale-inspired product range includes products manufactured using British steel, acrylic and other materials.

The National University Entrepreneur competition finals form part of the Olympic Torch celebrations at York Racecourse.  Inspired by the 2012 Olympics, and organised by The Training Gateway, the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, UK Trade and Investment and the University of York, the competition celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit within UK universities.

The ten finalists, whittled down from 50 applications from universities throughout the country, will each have three minutes to pitch their business or product idea to a five-strong judging panel drawn from the world of business and enterprise.

Four winners will be selected on Tuesday, who will then present their business plans at a 'Dragons' Den' event during London 2012.  The ‘dragons’ include Enterprise Nation founder, Emma Jones; one of the BBC’s original TV dragons, Doug Richard; executive chairman of the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, David Frost; and Cambridge University Entrepreneur in Residence, Professor Alan Barrell.

Heather Alstead is one of four finalists from the north of England.  Following her graduation from York St John University, the university’s Business School secured mentoring support for her from successful Yorkshire entrepreneur Graham Whitby, one of the first people to appear on the BBC Dragons’ Den series in 2005.

Heather says it was her ‘100% British’ message that caught the eye of the National University Entrepreneur competition judges, and that her new product range reflects her passion for British design and materials:

“My aim is to create well made products from high quality, materials sourced here in the UK.  I take inspiration from every aspect of my life and my work reflects classic British literature as well as subverting the well-known,” she says.

Heather’s 100% British range is inspired by fairy tales, with products including Goldilocks and the three bears coat hooks; bookends; a hickory dickory clock and a range of acrylic mirrors.

She will officially launch the products this weekend at the Pulse retail gift, home ware and lifestyle trade show in London, with several products already on sale in Selfridges stores across the UK and a second major high street retailer lined up to stock the range.

For more information about the NUE awards event, or to book a place, email or call: 01904 435102.

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