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Case studies

Lucy Nuttall

Lucy Nuttall, Frontline Forensics

Lucy Nuttall

With the economic climate as it is, and unemployment at an all time high, graduates such as Lucy Nuttall are looking for help and support from universities and other funded schemes to start their own businesses.

In 2011 Lucy scooped a first prize of £1500 in the annual Graduate Entrepreneurship Awards. Yorkshire’s Graduate Entrepreneurship Project is an ERDF-funded initiative which encourages and supports students and graduates into business and self-employment. The project is a collaboration of ten higher education institutions from the Yorkshire and Humber region and is co-ordinated by the University of Huddersfield.

Lucy was a worthy winner, selected from ten finalists from universities in Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Bradford and Huddersfield. Young entrepreneurs had to submit business plans and cash flow projections and presented a “Dragon’s Den” style pitch, before facing a gruelling question and answer session with an independent panel of regional business experts.

Lucy Nuttall had her 'light-bulb moment' whilst studying as a final-year business and marketing student at Sheffield Hallam University. Lucy needed to come up with an idea and take it from a concept to the point of a possible launch. Whilst on the lookout for ideas, Lucy was due to be meeting a friend when they got caught up at work. With the friend being a Scene of Crime officer Lucy questioned why. The friend explained they had been held up waiting for a footprint cast to set, which set Lucy’s ideas going!

Lucy's tutor knew the idea was a good one and suggested that she enter Sheffield Hallam's Enterprise Challenge 2010. With nothing to lose Lucy thought 'Why not?' and went on to win first prize from the audience vote on the night. With some prize money in her back pocket Lucy used the money to get a patent in place. Lucy was also offered an ‘in-kind’ prize from two of the competition sponsors to have full use of their facilities to develop the concept: Gripple and Load Hog, Sheffield-based manufacturers.

Whilst meeting the team and giving a demonstration of how long it takes existing casts to dry - at least 40 minutes - Gripple and Loadhog's chairman Hugh Facey came in. He was immediately interested and invited Lucy to join their ‘Incub’ scheme which helps entrepreneurs or 'cubs' take an idea to market, offering investment, expertise and facilities in return for a slice of intellectual property and subsequent business.

In March 2011, Lucy began working full time as Managing Director of Frontline Forensics. With the help of Gripple and Loadhog engineers, Lucy began testing every material she could find, from off-the-shelf products, quick setting silicones, to more specialised industrial materials. Six months later Lucy confirmed gypsum-based dental stone was the best material for job but needed to be specially adapted for forensic purposes.

In December 2011 after Lucy went around the UK providing demonstrations and free product trials to police forces, Frontline started trading with two products: the fast-setting casting material NuCAST180 and a product called EviBUBBLE, an inflatable bag that provides an air cushion around fragile evidence such as casts, for transport.

Frontline Forensics now sells to 13 UK forces and has over 20 others trialling their products.

Lucy won a £1000 Shell Livewire Grand Ideas award in January this year, which has gone towards further product developments. In addition she has just won a national award in the ‘30 under 30’ rising stars in manufacturing for the Made in Great Britain Campaign.

Lucy was selected for being a true high-flyer, standing out from her peers and demonstrating passion, enthusiasm and ambition in her role.

Lucy will now go on to act as an ambassador for the Make it in Great Britain campaign, which aims to challenge outdated opinions and transform the image of modern manufacturing. She will have a special role in engaging with other young people, to ensure that the next generation is aware of the great jobs and careers in the industry.

Successful entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den Star Deborah Meaden is backing the Make it in Great Britain campaign, and is particularly supportive of the 30 under 30.

She said: It’s important to encourage young people to see the value of manufacturing careers. The 30 under 30 will be a valuable asset to the campaign by offering a fresh perspective on what it takes to start up a business or launch new ideas.

I look forward to working alongside them to help inspire the next generation of youngsters about a future in manufacturing.

Lucy said, I am absolutely delighted to have been selected as one of Britain’s 30 young manufacturing stars and hope that what I have achieved can inspire other people to do the same.

Lucy has recently secured deals with a company in Dubai, the US and one of the largest forensic equipment providers in the UK to distribute Frontlines products.

With a new product launched in the last couple of months - NuCASTtool, a rapid setting tool mark impression casting kit, it seems Frontline Forensics has plenty more ideas and is geared for worldwide success.

View the full article in Chemistry World

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Added on: 28/01/2013