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21 Mar 2016

Graduate receives government business funding

Lifeguard testing the craft in Australia
Lifeguard testing the craft in Australia

Ross Kemp, Industrial Design and Technology graduate from 2011, has received £42,000 funding from government business support agency- Innovate UK for his business ASAP Water Crafts.

This is government funding offered to small/medium sized businesses and it is very competitive, making it hard to receive.

The money will go towards developing and prototyping his product the Asap Rescue Hero, a small one-person, electric motorised rescue craft. The craft is powered by electric, it’s cost effective and can be recharged using renewable energy sources. The Asap Rescue Hero also has an innovative enclosed propulsion system which prevents injury from blades and makes it safe to use in a wide range of environments. Although it’s predominantly to save lives, it also has a wider downstream application as a leisure craft to help grow the business further.

The craft can also be deployed in hard to reach locations such as caves, for search and rescue. It allows lifeguards to quickly reach people in trouble before they lose consciousness.

Ross had the idea for a power assisted watercraft during his time as a lifeguard at Loughborough. He devoted his final year project to developing a fully working prototype of the conceptual design, with testing and evaluation in the sea with RNLI lifeguards.

Ross was chosen as one of the first graduates to be supported by The Studio, the University’s initiative to help graduates’ business ventures. Through The Studio, Ross could refine his prototype with tutors from the Design School, and use the workshops and design facilities we have here. Asap water crafts is still backed and supported by Loughborough University.

Since graduating Ross has appeared on BBC3’s Be Your Own Boss where he pitched his water crafts to Co-founder of Innocent Smoothies Richard Reed, who invested in his product. As well as Sir Richard Branson who offered to help launch the business and product in Australia.

Asap water crafts won the Lloyds TSB Enterprise award for Best UK Start Up 2013, a Shell Live Wire Grand Idea award, Silver in the Start Up category at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and a Loughborough Think Big Award.

Recently Asap's rescue water craft has been named by the Design Council as 'one to watch', and by Design Week as one of their 7 designs for the future.

Congratulations Ross for all Asap Water Crafts’ success so far and we look forward to seeing what the business will achieve with the recent Innovate UK grant.