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Young Innovator of the Year – Michael Harkins

Tue, 2017-04-25 09:15

Livingston entrepreneur has been crowned the ‘Young Innovator of the Year’ at the Made in Scotland Awards.

Michael Harkins (24), who is currently the Head Teacher at the Dolphins Swim School in Livingston, has developed Turtle Pack to help children to learn more effectively.

Turtle Pack is a multi-award winning swimming teaching aid designed to remove anxiety, build confidence and develop important life skills. Turtle Pack consists of an easily adjustable neoprene vest with an EVA turtle shell attached to the back. As the child’s confidence and coordination improves in the water, the buoyancy can be easily reduced by removing segments of the shell.

The child’s arms are free so they can swim with no restrictions and provides the correct horizontal body position. The progressional aspect challenges the swimmer to work harder and visually rewards them each time a shell is removed. And most importantly, Turtle Pack ensures with its creative design that it is fun to use.

Michael was announced as the ‘Young Innovator of the Year’ by Jackie Bird on 19th April at the Glasgow Science Centre. In his acceptance speech, he congratulated his fellow finalists Lewis Pour (UniJobApp) and Ashley Hearton for all their efforts. Also, mentioning he would be taking his award home as a present for his Dad’s birthday.

Michael said, “It is a great achievement to be awarded Young Innovator of the year at the Made in Scotland Awards. I was delighted to have won and I would like to congratulate all the finalists for their amazing efforts. I am very passionate about my sport and I want to use Turtle Pack to encourage more children to learn to swim whilst having a blast"

The young entrepreneur is currently an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is an incubee in residence at the Sport Hive which is the 1st sport incubator in the UK.