Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has issued a rallying cry to businesses to support the innovative ideas of youngsters who have displayed their ingenuity in a north east-wide competition.
The Little Inventors project has seen 15 pupils aged eight to 12 design their own creations to help manufacture, use or store energy better. Five of the chosen ideas came from children in Tees Valley, with the other successful innovations coming from Sunderland and Northumberland.
The children met for the first time at an event at Stockton’s Preston Park to share their ideas and explore what it means to be an inventor. Their plans will now be turned into reality by local designers, engineers and manufacturers ahead of an exhibition at the museum from 18 June.
Mayor Houchen is now calling on business across the Tees Valley to help these talented youngsters make their designs – which ranged from a joint ice cream and candy floss maker to a way of making fishing easier – into reality.
One of the aims of the project, which has been backed by £40,000 from the Mayor and Combined Authority, is to encourage innovative, free thought in young people, as well as highlight careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Art.
Mayor Houchen said: “These inventors may be little, but they have got big imaginations and it was great to see their brilliant ideas and to get a sneak peek of what’s coming at the exhibition later this year. The topic of energy for this competition was particularly relevant, given our clean energy ambitions and the huge role the sector will play in the region’s economy for decades to come.
“This programme is a lot of fun and the kids have clearly really enjoyed it, but it also has a serious purpose. The pupils I met today are the job creators, innovators and entrepreneurs of the future and competitions like Little Innovators are really important for developing the skills that will hold them in good stead for their future careers.
“But to help these youngsters, we need businesses to get on board and support them with their ideas and help turn them into physical prototypes that they can be really proud of. That way they can be really inspired to follow a career of creativity and entrepreneurism.”
Dominic Wilcox, founder of Little Inventors, said: “We need real inventive thinking to solve all the issues in the world today and, to start doing that, we’ve got to encourage young people to start thinking about those ideas. Taking their inventions seriously gives them a real confidence boost and will set them on the path to a creative and productive life and career.
“It was great to meet the Mayor and I’m looking forward to seeing how the local creators realise the brilliant ideas of our inventors.”
Are you a local business who would like to get involved and help make the Little Inventors’ plans a reality? Email firstname.lastname@example.org