Coventry design graduate's grand idea is up for national award

Alumni news

Monday 18 November 2013

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A design graduate from Coventry University has had his very first commercial product shortlisted for a national award for new business start-ups.

Dudley based Sanjeev Dass, 22, is one of ten finalists in the latest Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Awards. The prestigious monthly competition celebrates the creative business endeavours of young entrepreneurs in the UK. Four winners will be selected from the ten nominees for the October 2013 award, each receiving a cash prize of up to £1000 alongside PR support for their business venture.

Sanjeev, who will graduate from Coventry University with upper second honours in Product Design this month, has recently established his own business, Dass Design. His company’s launch product, a multi-functional home accessory called the key-pad, is one of the ten innovative business proposals up for this month’s Shell LiveWire award.

Entrants have submitted video demonstrations of their projects, which have now been uploaded to the Shell LiveWire website and members of the public can vote online for their favourite. The finalists will be judged on written submissions they have produced to accompany their 60 second video demos and winners will be determined by the quality of their work as well as the amount of public votes they receive for their videos.

Sanjeev’s key-pad creation is a utility unit which can be used for taking notes as well as storing keys, letters and other personal items. The handy home organiser fits over a light switch for convenience and ease of use - factors which underpin Sanjeev’s wider design philosophy.

Sanjeev said:

I’m interested in creating products that make daily life easier. That’s really the ethos behind my company. The most useful products in my mind are the ones that solve everyday problems so I take a ‘function first’ approach to design but there’s a fun, quirky edge in there as well.

The key-pad is designed to fit around a light switch as this is always the first and last point of contact when entering or leaving a room. So my thinking was to utilise this previously unused space by creating a multi-purpose organiser in a position where it is always seen and is easily accessible.

As well as honing his design skills during his degree course, Sanjeev worked with the University’s commercial subsidiary – Coventry University Enterprises Ltd  - to develop his business ideas and also took advantage of the ‘SPEED Plus’ enterprise support programme at the University’s Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship.

Sanjeev continued:

I’d like to pay tribute to the quality of teaching and the facilities on offer at Coventry University. I’m also grateful for the support I received there when starting my entrepreneurial journey.

It’s a very positive environment for aspiring business people. In fact, the main bulk of development for the key-pad took place during my final year of study, so if I emerge as one of the winners of the Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Awards, Coventry University will have played a big part in my success.

Brian More, Director of Intellectual Property Services at Coventry University Enterprises Ltd said:

It was a pleasure working with Sanjeev and we’re pleased to have played a part in the launch of his design company.

He’s a very creative individual with a sharp, business brain. He has all the attributes of a budding entrepreneur; dogged determination and great ideas which he spends every spare minute working on.

Sanjeev approaches design with a view to creating products that make daily tasks and routines that bit easier. The beauty of his key-pad is its simplicity and practicality. It’s a fantastic product and I hope the judges of the Shell LiveWire award agree. I believe Sanjeev would make a very worthy winner.

The Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Awards for October 2013, in which Sanjeev has been nominated, are now open. Supporters of Sanjeev’s key-pad product can register their vote at where they will be able to view his 60 second video demonstration. Voting closes at midnight on Saturday 30 November 2013. Winners will be announced in early December.

To find out more about Coventry University’s Product Design degree visit the course page of the University website.