September 28, 2021

Leading Wicklow company announces €5,000 prize fund for design students

A leading county Wicklow company that featured on the Dragon’s Den TV show has launched a new design award – with €5,000 prize money for students who can come up with “the next storage solution for Irish homes”.

Smarth Storage Ltd, based in Newtownmountkennedy, and TU Dublin today unveiled details of the first Smart Storage Design Innovation Award.

With an initial prize fund of €5,000, the competition is looking for students to design the next storage solution for Irish homes.

CEO of Smart Storage, Greystones man Paul Jacob, said: “Storage in new and existing Irish homes is always an issue. In our tenth year in business, we have partnered with TU Dublin to challenge their students to look at Irish homes and see what unused space is available and give their solution to finding extra storage in the home. We are looking for a new workable concept from students, which we could look to develop to the production stage as the next storage solution idea for homes across the country.”

Robert Simpson, Assistant Head of School of Mechanical and Design Engineering, responsible for Product Design in TU Dublin, added: “Technological University Dublin are delighted that our students have been invited to participate in this competition. In TU Dublin we strive to get our students to apply their learning to real-world situations and this is a great example where students will be tasked with a problem and using multi-disciplinary design skills come up with novel solutions.”

Students entering the competition will be asked to detail and design a new storage idea for an unused space in the home, not being utilised to its full potential. The aim of this competition is to take full advantage of parts of the home that are currently lying unused. This competition is open to all students in TU Dublin but especially to programmes in the areas of Mechanical and Design Engineering, Timber Product Technology, Architecture, Product Design and Interior Design.

Smart Storage Ltd specialises in discrete understair storage solutions but have also evolved their storage solutions to multiple rooms and spaces in the home.

The county Wicklow company was established in 2010, but it recieved a massive boost when it won investment from Norah Casey on Dragon’s Den in 2012.

Since then, Smart Storage has continued to grow and prosper throughout extremely difficult times in the Irish market.

Reflecting on the past decade of growth, Mr Jacob added: “I started this company in the height of the recession, but with hard work and invaluable investment and support from Norah we now have 70 employees and installed over 40,000 storage units in homes across Ireland.”

This new collaboration with TU Dublin gives students a great opportunity to put what they learn in college into practical use and, similar to Dragon’s Den, pitch their ideas to a panel of experienced judges in the hope of their design being turned into a product that is brought to market.

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