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The Guardian: What happened next?

The Guardian: What happened next?

Neil Farish worked as a coach on a dry ski slope in Edinburgh while studying for his degree. But what does he do now?

Interview by Adeline Iziren

Saturday June 26, 2004

Neil Farish in now an entrepreneur and co-founder of Lightweight Medical, which designs life saving medical products for hospitals.

Uninspired by the product design jobs around, Neil and friend Neil Tierney set up their own business within a few months of graduating from Glasgow University. “We didn’t want to design the next big plastic product,” says Neil. “We wanted to design products that made a difference to the lives of other people.”

It wasn’t long before the duo spotted a gap in the market for well designed medical equipment and began talking to staff in various hospitals. A recurring complaint was too few efficient neo-natal products.

They designed an innovative product and gave hospital staff a chance to road test it. The feedback was incredibly positive and now the product has been licensed to a manufacturer. It should be in UK hospitals from 2006.

The initiative and enterprise of the two Neils have earned them the accolade of Shell LiveWire’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Award ahead of 1,200 entrants. “We were stunned at our victory,” says Neil, who picked up the award at a ceremony this month.

“It is the best business award for a young person to win.” The award came with a £10,000 prize, which Neil has already spent on computer aided-design software for the business. The success of the business and product has persuaded Neil of the value of going after your dream and persevering in the face of adversity.

Neil’s advice to recent graduates who want to go it alone? “Be sure it’s what you want to do – if it is, just do it.”

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