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Teenage girl on stairlift to millions after stumbling on handrail idea for a GCSE project

Published by Waleed Fakhroo on November 14, 2009


When Ruth Amos created a design for a handrail as part of a GCSE project, her main focus was to ensure she would get a good grade.

The 16-year-old schoolgirl never expected that her design idea would be turned into a device that has helped change the lives of disabled and elderly people.

Now, three years on, she is running an expanding firm – and in a few years could potentially earn millions.

This week the teenager’s achievements were honoured when she was presented with the Young Star award at the Women of the Future awards in Central London.

Ruth+Amos

Ruth, 19, from Sheffield, designed the StairSteady to help those with walking difficulties climb the stairs as part of her design and technology GCSE project.

Her teacher asked her to design a product that would help solve a dilemma for him.

He told Ruth that his mother did not want a stairlift put into her house, but could not get up the stairs without one.

Ruth designed and developed a metal bar attached to a metal stair rail. It allows those with limited mobility to use the stairs without worrying that they will fall.

Those using the StairSteady push the bar along the rail to help them balance when they want go up and down the stairs.

The bar uses friction to lock itself in place so users can pull themselves up to the next step. It will lock in place if the user falls or stumbles. When not in use, the handle can be pushed flat against the wall.

Ruth+Amos+2

Ruth’s design was so good that a local company made a prototype for her. She won the Young Engineer of Britain award in 2006 and started her business – all at the same time as taking and passing 15 GCSEs.

The StairSteady, which costs £470, has been so successful that Miss Amos is now considering selling it abroad.

She currently sells it nationwide, in partnership with Minivator, the UK’s second largest manufacturer of stairlifts, and it is being bought at a rate of more than three per week.

Although she would not disclose her turnover as she is in the middle of negotiations, her business is worth more than £60,000 a year.

She had been planning to go to university, but has put that on hold for three years to concentrate on the business.

‘I can’t believe how successful the StairSteady’s been,’ said Ruth. ‘It’s doing really well and we’re looking to expand our range and take the business to Europe,’ she said.

‘Often a fresh mind on an old market place is the best thing. I love running the business and I love being an entrepreneur.’

( source : dailymail )

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  1. jeanmoorby on Tue, 17th Nov 2009 1:10 pm 

    Both my husband and I need this stair help – can we know how to obtain one, the price, carriage and all information to enable us to order one – thank you.

    Mr. P. and Mrs.J. Moorby

  2. Waleed Fakhroo on Tue, 17th Nov 2009 11:36 pm 

    Hi Mr/Mrs Moorby ,
    Please visit the Links/URL of Ruth Amos website / Blog below where you and find all the details you need about StairSteady product ..

    http://www.stairsteady.net/
    http://stairsteady.blogspot.com/

    How To Buy StairSteady ( Click here )




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