Alumni triumph in Innovate UK Young Innovators Next Step Awards

A Young Innovators Next Steps Awards purple asset including an image of Anthony Camu two logos and a quote reading

The Next Step Awards recognise former recipients of the Young Innovators awards who have displayed further growth and innovation of their business.

This year was particularly successful for our alumni as they accounted for 50% of recipients of the awards.

The Theia Robotics device

Two of the four winners of the awards are Loughborough alumni and LUInc. startups. Anthony Camu, the inventor of Theia Roboticsand Thomas Constant the inventor of the Bug Factory, both began their business development whilst at university.  

Anthony Camu graduated with a degree in Industrial Design and Technology in 2020. Theia Robotics is a handheld orientation and mobility device to help people with visual impairments. The device uses technologies similar to those found in autonomous vehicles and VR gaming controllers to guide users' hands accurately along paths. Theia aims to be an affordable substitute for a guide dog for those who are not able to get one due to cost, space, allergies, and availability issues. Anthony is a graduate of the Loughborough University Incubator and benefited from the Start-Up Fund and Wilkinson Futures grant funding to aid the development of Theia Robotics. This is Anthony's third recognition from Innovate UK having previously won the Young Innovators Award and the SMART Grant which awarded him a sum of £439,000. 

Thomas Constant also began developing his start-up whilst at Loughborough before graduating from Industrial Design and Technology in 2018. The Bug Factory manufactures eco-growing pods designed for people’s homes that harness insect power to recycle food waste and convert it into pet food and plant fertiliser. The pods are manufactured from recycled British fridge and freezers and aim to empower consumers to create their own affordable, sustainable, and continuous source of animal feed while recycling their uneaten fruit. Their mission is to empower people to reduce their carbon footprint, reuse their food waste and create continuous, sustainable animal feed. Thomas was supported to establish his business by Loughborough Enterprise Network. He received funding to setup through the University’s Start-Up Fund, and participatedin Loughborough’s graduate startup programmeThe Studio, based in the University’s business incubator, LUinc. 

An image of Thomas Constant smiling whilst sitting a desk

The winners of the Young Innovators Next Step Awards are former recipients of the Young Innovators Awards which aims to recognise those who have gone on to demonstrate their remarkable innovation and business ideas after winning their first Innovate UK award. The Next Steps Awards reward those who have secured further funding and succeeded in the overall expansion of their business. 

Focused on helping young people all over the country, the recipients of the award will receive an additional £50,000 in funding as well as tailored business support to help young innovators continue their progress and help realise their growth plans. 

Congratulations to Anthony and Thomas