A Sheffield Hallam graduate who refused to let the accident which left her wheelchair-bound at 27 stop her wanderlust has taken the top prize in her former university’s award for business enterprise.
Belinda Noda’s invention, a cycle for an able-bodied rider and a disabled passenger, which she developed with husband Paul Stanton, has taken her around the UK and to the Netherlands.
Now the Daisy Bell bicycle built for two by Cycle In Company has won first prize in Sheffield Hallam University’s Enterprise Challenge 2014, it could be developed to help thousands of couples coping with disability.
A wheelchair can easily be attached to the Daisy Bell bicycle, meaning couples can travel side-by-side. It won the £5,000 top prize and the award for ‘best manufacturable product’ as well as the evening’s audience vote. Manufacturers Gripple, sponsors of the event, are helping with development.
Belinda, 55, and her husband were so delighted they burst into song – and were joined by the audience in a version of music hall standard ‘Daisy Daisy’. Charlie Ledger’s circus skills education company, Serendipity Circus, won the social enterprise award and Matt Parks’ 1Plus2Travel.com was main award runner up.
The awards are the longest running student enterprise contest in the region. But the Enterprise Challenge awards dinner developed an embarrassing hitch when electronic keypads to record audience votes failed to work. Finalists left the room while the audience of 184 voted by a show of hands. Lloyd Snellgrove, director of the university’s Research and Innovation Office, said: “In 14 years we have never had an evening like it – especially the things that didn’t go to plan!”