wheelAIR’s young CEO wins Entrepreneur of the Year

Corien accepting her prize from GU Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Vice President, Jon Cooper

Corien Staels, CEO of Staels Design and MSc Graduate from the Glasgow University, has won Entrepreneur of the Year at Glasgow University's Knowledge Exchange and Engagement Conference for her wheelAIR innovation.

The prize recognises the wheelAIR’s entrepreneurial success, following the launch of the new mobility innovation earlier this year.

The wheelAIR is a cooling backrest cushion designed by Corien during her masters at the university when she discovered that wheelchair users experienced problems of overheating. In 2016, she founded Staels Design and released her cooling innovation to the market in 2017.

Over the past 12 months, activity has heated up for the cooling cushion as it won a variety of innovation competitions, winning £100k in Scottish Edge in June and winning £31k in the Converge Challenge in October.

Showcasing Glasgow University’s ambitions for knowledge exchange, engagement and innovation between the and the governmental, business, public and third sectors, the wheelAIR proved to tick all the boxes at the Knowledge Exchange and Engagement Conference.

Using inbuilt fan technology, the cushion not only cools the back but reduces the user’s core temperature as well, taking away excess heat and moisture and allowing for instant comfort & better temperature control. The cushion also offers extra support through a unique blend of carefully selected foams.

Previously discussing her entrepreneurial experiences, Corien commented: " The wheelAIR journey has been a whirlwind and I have met so many inspirational people. I even spoke to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about wheelAIR after winning Converge Challenge! But what really inspires me is knowing that something I’ve created could make someone’s life that bit better.”

To find out more, visit the company’s website HERE