Graduates’ business goals given a Sporting Chance

Two University of Dundee graduates have had their business careers kick-started after winning a national sports design competition.

Jamie Spratt and Ronan Joy have both been named as winners in this year’s Sporting Chance Sports Innovation Challenge, securing a share of a £15,000 prize fund. The pair will also receive 12 months of support and office space from the Stirling-based business incubator The Sport Hive after their respective designs impressed a panel of industry experts.

Business Computing graduate Ronan Joy will now develop a concept sensor suit that maps the motion of rugby players to help them improve their goal kicking abilities.

The 22-year-old, originally from Perth, worked with former Scotland international Phil Godman during the initial development of his ‘Teknique’ concept and said he believed the idea could be a game-changer.

“At the moment a lot of professionals are dependent on video analysis, but that technology does not allow players to compare kicks accurately. Teknique will allow players to refine their kicking style in-game by suggesting to coaches the differences between a player’s last kick and previously judged successful kicking styles, pinpointing any biomechanical differences.

“A lot of games in this year’s Six Nations were determined by missed kicks, so improving the ability of players to make conversions could translate to millions of pounds in prize money. If Teknique is successful then there’s even the possibility of adapting it for other sports, such as football and NFL.”

Meanwhile, Product Design graduate Jamie Spratt said that he was hopeful that the support of Sporting Chance will set him and his modular backpack concept ‘Roam’ on the right track.

The keen sailor, skier and hillwalker from Edinburgh said that he developed the idea after becoming tired of purchasing specific bags for different activities.

“What I wanted to do was develop a bag that could cater for people interested in a variety of outdoor activities that could be flexible to their needs,” said the 22-year-old.

“Modular rucksacks are not a new idea, but Roam uses a unique kind of fastening that gives users the ability to access their gear much more quickly than those already on sale. The next step is to develop the bag further and decide whether it is something that I will licence to be produced by other companies or develop and take to the market myself.”

To secure their funding, Jamie and Ronan had to present their ideas to a panel of judges, which included senior figures from Adidas and Puregym.

Ryan Carenduff, Programme Manager of the Sporting Chance Initiative, said, “It’s a testament to the entrepreneurial culture at the University of Dundee for them to be celebrating this double win.

“Jamie and Ronan each came into the competition with a great work ethic and a desire to see their ideas turned into something real. The judging panel were incredibly impressed with their respective pitches and I’m sure that we’ll see big things from both very soon.”

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