Maja Rudinac received the top prize of € 20,000 (US $21,700) to invest in her business, Robot Care Systems. Maja has developed the Lean Elderly Assistant robot (Lea) which provides elderly people with the support they need to live more independently. Lea offers a variety of assistance ranging from help with walking to indicating when medication is due to be taken and prompting the person to take exercise.
Speaking about her success, Maja said, "My ambition is to expand from a start-up to a larger company. So, I am deeply grateful that I was able to receive the LiveWIRE Award. With this prize I'll hopefully be able to offer even more older people a more enjoyable and independent way of life.”
The inspiration for Maja's innovative business came after seeing elderly people in care homes who had essentially given up on life. That image was so difficult for Maja to accept that she founded Robot Care Systems to give the elderly the chance to prolong their independence. Maja said, "I saw how elderly people in care homes were struggling with everyday tasks.”
The LiveWIRE Award is presented each year to an entrepreneur under the age of 35 who is able to convince the panel of judges of his or her innovative potential and entrepreneurship. The final took place in style this year at B. Amsterdam, a building of the future when it comes to cooperative working and dynamics.
Speaking at the awards, Dick Benschop, President Director of Shell Nederland, said, "It's great to see how young entrepreneurs want to conquer the market with their innovations. LiveWIRE is an example of how large businesses and start-ups can work together to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Claudia Zuiderwijk, Chairman of the Board at the Chamber of Commerce, added, "In particular, business innovation that leads to upscaling is key. We are going to focus the LiveWIRE programme even more on this aspect in the coming years. We are proud that we can offer these young ambitious entrepreneurs a rich variety of activities in partnership with Shell.”
A prize worth € 5,000 (US $5,400) for the winner of a public vote on the LiveWIRE Netherlands website was won by Job Jansweijer from KonneKt, with 35% of the votes cast. KonneKt provides a creative shapes game that enables young patients, who are being nursed in isolation, to play games with each other.
Robot Care Systems and KonneKt, along with the two other finalist businesses, Skytree and EXO-L, were assessed in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and growth potential. The judges included: Hubert Deitmers, Co-founder and Managing Partner Endeit Capital B.V.; Constantijn van Oranje, Special Advisor StartupDelta & Vice-Chair International Circle of Influencers; Huib ter Braak, Excom member Arval & Director Europe and Mediterranean Zone, Chairman-elect CIC Rotterdam; and, Marius T.H. Meeus, Professor of Strategy, innovation and organisational learning, University of Tilburg. The jury prize was presented by Geert-Jan Bruinsma, Founder of Booking.com.
You can read the stories of all four finalists at www.livewire.nl/nl/kandidaten.
EXO-L from Delft
A revolutionary ankle band for sportspeople that prevents ankle injuries, without restricting the athlete's freedom of movement.
KonneKt from Delft
A creative shapes game that enables young patients, who are being nursed in isolation, to play games with each other.
Robot Care Systems from The Hague
Robot LEA (Lean Elderly Assistant) helps elderly people to continue living independently in their own homes, by providing support with everyday tasks.
Skytree from Amsterdam
Adding space technology to appliances here on earth, Skytree aims to reduce the greenhouse effect by drawing CO2 out of the air.
LiveWIRE Netherlands helps innovative entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. By providing them with guidance and a professional network, LiveWIRE increases the entrepreneurs' resilience and chances of success. LiveWIRE focuses specifically on innovative entrepreneurs, as innovation is the driving force behind the Dutch economy. LiveWIRE is an international Shell social investment programme that is run in the Netherlands with the Chamber of Commerce as partner. Each year, more than 800 entrepreneurs receive support from the programme. www.livewire.nl