13 November 2017


Company behind innovative floatation device scoops £5,000 and CEO and Scotsman Michael Harkins will meet Sir Richard Branson.

Turtle Pack, a multi-award-winning swimming aid that is designed to build children’s confidence and coordination in the water, has been crowned the Dundee winner of the Virgin Media Business Voom Pitch competition. CEO Michael Harkins collects £5,000 for the business and will also get to meet Sir Richard Branson.

Six companies* from in and around Dundee pitched as part of the Voom Tour to a panel of four judges. Turtle Pack impressed the judges with its clear business proposition and innovative product design. The invention allows a child’s arms to remain free without any restrictions by supporting the correct horizontal body position when swimming. By allowing the buoyancy to be easily reduced as a child’s confidence and coordination in the water grows, it helps swimming ability to improve and challenges the wearer to keep working.

Michael, who is 24 and from Livingston, came up with the idea after becoming a children’s swimming instructor and noticing there wasn’t anything on the market that was multifunctional, unrestrictive and fun. He’s worked tirelessly on the design with manufacturers and is pushing the product through various safety testing requirements to ensure it is ready to launch next year. He’s now looking to build the company’s ecommerce platform and build partnerships with swim schools and health clubs.

Following the win, Michael commented: “I heard all about the Voom Tour after it took place in Glasgow and was gutted I’d missed the chance to enter. So, you can imagine how chuffed I was when I found out I’d get another chance to enter the competition before the Voom Bus arrived in Dundee. I really enjoyed pitching and it was great to meet the other entrepreneurs and get sound business advice from all the judges. This money will mean we can finalise the product and complete all the necessary safety testing so we’re ready to launch in 2018.”

The Voom Tour is the first time that Voom Pitch, the UK and Ireland’s biggest business pitching competition, has hit the road in search of the best new business ideas. It’s designed to help the brightest and the best companies to perfect their pitching ahead of the national competition in 2018. In addition, the Voom Bus offers free and exclusive 1-on-1s with leading experts such as Crowdfunder, Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW), Virgin StartUp and JCDecaux. 

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said: “The Voom Tour is seeking out brilliant entrepreneurs and ideas to help break down the barriers to business success. The aim is to help them put aside their fears and take the next steps on what could be the most significant journey of their business life. I’m looking forward to meeting the winner of the Dundee Voom Pitch.”

The Voom Tour has been travelling to cities across the UK and Ireland all year, finishing with its final stop in Dundee on the 9th of November. 


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*Startups that participated in Voom Dundee:

Michael Harkins- Turtle Pack (winner)
Xupo Smart Tag
Pocket Sized Hands
My Club Hub

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