Innovation and business success - KwikScreen - Business Works
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Innovation and business success - KwikScreen

Michael Korn, KwikScreen innovator
M ichael Korn, a 30 year old entrepreneur from East Finchley, has just won the coveted title of Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 and £10,000 for his invention, KwickScreen, which is already being used in the NHS to bring an end to the misery of mixed sex wards.

NHS Trusts are committed to virtually eliminating mixed sex accommodation by dividing up bays with either solid walls or moveable partitions. Using curtains to separate bays is not sufficient under NHS rules and since April 2011 hospitals can be fined £250 for each day a patient is forced to share accommodation with the opposite sex.

"The pace at which the business has grown since we launched KwickScreen into the NHS 12 months ago is truly amazing," said Michael. "This demonstrates that there is a real demand for simple innovative products such as ours, which provide solutions to important problems. Knowing that the product I invented while a student is now improving the care environment and level of dignity for thousands of patients, as well as saving the NHS significant amounts of money, is a great feeling. Many hospitals we have visited are kicking themselves after spending heavily on building work, when the required environment could have been achieved at a fraction of the cost through introducing KwickScreens to their existing wards. Support from awards like Shell Livewire is crucial for fledgling business like ours in order for them both to initially fund their enterprises as well as receive recognition for their great ideas."

KwickScreens are portable, retractable room-dividers that mean healthcare professionals can make the best use of available space to give maximum privacy, protection and dignity to patients. The screens can be a direct replacement for dusty curtains or expensive building projects and they are easy to clean design means they can help prevent hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.

Since its launch in 2010, the British-made product, manufactured in Corby, is already used in over 30 NHS trusts as well as in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Designs can be printed onto the KwickScreens, adding colour and interest to wards and the screens can also be used to display important messages to staff and visitors. Michael and his team are working on expanding the market to dentists, GPs, Care Homes and then schools, open plan offices and exhibitions.

"Itís a great honour to win the Young Entrepreneur of the Year title," commented Michael. "I started my company when I realised there was a need to ensure that dignity and privacy of people in hospital needed to be better protected. From that simple insight I have been driven to build my business over the last four years in the UK. I will use the £10,000 that I have won to target the international healthcare markets."

"My business nearly didnít make it off the starting blocks. When my wife told me she was pregnant she said you had to get the business up and running before the baby was born or else get a 'proper' job ... Isaac was born just two days after the first big order came through, so the business was saved.

Michael impressed a range of judges including the BBCís The Apprentice winner, Tim Campbell, and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor, throughout the whole day of judging. He fought off strong competition from across the UK in the eight-strong final from entrepreneurial talent spanning a range of sectors including product design, renewables and online commerce.

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