Graduate prize winner launches business idea

A mature student at Bangor University is hoping to launch the product he developed during the final year of his degree course internationally over the coming months.

Shem ap Geraint, 34, from Pennal near Machynlleth has graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Product Design and was awarded the Lloyd Jones prize for his academic achievement.  For his final year project he developed a product called the ‘Rocket Life Ring,’ an updated version of the traditional life ring which can be thrown more accurately and much further. Shem’s product was named the Bangor winner of the Santander Big Ideas competition and he is now hoping to bring the Rocket Life Ring onto the market.

Shem said, “I’m very proud to be graduating, it was hard work but it was all worth it! I’m a mature student and am self employed which gave me the flexibility to work around studying, but it did involve a lot of work. There’s plenty of time to study and work, but you have to be very organised.”

During his course Shem took part in projects which included attending design meetings with the British special forces/S.A.S; and pitching his Life Ring idea to a panel of experts in the Bangor round of the Santander Big Ideas competition.

Explaining why he chose to revamp the traditional life ring, he said, “From past experience, I know that life rings no longer meet the specification needed, so I decided to design a product that can be thrown vastly further distances.  It has taken me ten months to develop the Rocket Life Ring and I have been working alongside a company that designs life vests. I’m hoping to launch it internationally in the next two months, and am also hoping to work in the design industry, preferably on a freelance basis.

“I also plan on doing a masters course, possibly in marketing or sustainable building design.”

Publication date: 13 July 2011