North-east woman wins Young Innovator Award for lockdown business idea
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A north-east woman who took her childhood passion for knitting and turned it into a business has been named in the winners of the Young Innovator Award.
Lucy Fisher (25) from Aberdeen, who founded Knit It with her mum Marie and grandmother Marge during lockdown, was announced as a recipient by organisers Innovate UK and The Prince's Trust.
The award recognises young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation.
Lucy's business aims to bring knitting into the 21st century via a new digital platform which enables knitters to have a choice in how they follow a pattern and guides them through creating their new designs.
She came up with the idea after learning how to knit as a youngster.
She said: “My grandma taught me how to knit and ever since I have been hooked."
Lucy still gets advice from her grandmother and the whole family have been helping to get her idea off the ground.
She added: “My mum has been helping with the business and grandma is still my go-to person for knitting advice. My dad and sister have been helping too – we’re a close-knit family!”
Last year, Lucy launched her first product from her online store – a knitting kit that transforms a customer’s photo of their loved ones and pets into a knitting pattern, providing them with a kit with all the items to knit it.
The business has had orders from across the UK as people have been using the knitting kit while at home during lockdown. Some of Lucy’s work has included knitted portraits of Sir Ian Wood and Ant and Dec.
She said the Young Innovators Award will help her to realise her vision to create a digital platform by providing the support and networking connections to take her business to the next level.
She added: “We want to create a global community of young knitters. We need something to make the hobby more appealing and up-to-date for the digital generation.
"Our first product showcases what we can do when mixing technology with knitting. We can’t wait to use the support from the Young Innovators Award to develop the Knit It platform which we plan to launch this year.”
Lucy was also the winner of RGU’s 2020 Start Up Accelerator programme; Scottish Edge’s 2020 Young EDGE and Creative EDGE awards; and a finalist in the Converge Creative Challenge 2020.
Following an unprecedented level of entries, with an 87 per cent increase in applications year-on-year, 64 young people have started the New Year with a boost after winning the Young Innovators Award, double the number of recipients of previous years.
Each winner will receive a £5000 grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.
The programme is set to continue awarding young people from diverse backgrounds until at least 2023.
Emily Nott, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year, maintaining our focus on Young Innovators was a priority for Innovate UK since finding the great entrepreneurial minds of the future is more important than ever.
"Working alongside this year’s winners, Innovate UK will help them grow and develop their business idea to make the world a better, and more innovative place. We can’t wait to see what they achieve this year.”
Director of partnerships at The Prince’s Trust Ben Marson said: “At The Prince’s Trust we know the enormous potential and entrepreneurial spirit of UK young people, even in times of considerable uncertainty.
"It is more important than ever that all young people, no matter their background, have the opportunity to thrive in work and turn their ideas into reality.
"Working with partners like Innovate UK allows us to encourage entrepreneurship among young people, and bring diverse ideas and businesses into the economy.”
Any young person interested in getting involved with the scheme can visit ktn-uk.org/programme/young-innovators
For more on Lucy's business visit www.knit-it.co.uk or on social media @hello_knit_it