Melbourne Innovation Centre has partnered with Whittlesea City Council to deliver the Ignite Program throughout 2019. In addition to workshops and breakfasts with guest entrepreneurs, Ignite recently hosted an exclusive bootcamp to support and develop local startups. MIC delivered this intensive training to finalists to prepare them for the Grand Pitch night—and we are delighted to congratulate 27Eight on winning the grand prize!

Kam Patel from 27Eight has developed a Smart Clothesline, designed to assist the elderly and injured with drying clothes. This innovative, light-weight design can be folded away when not in use and features a main upper drying rack and smaller lower rack. Due to the assistance it lends, Kam is in the process of getting this approved to be registered in the NDIS’s Assistive Technology category.

“Drying clothes has been a personal problem that I've experienced along with my mother,” Kam says, explaining the inspiration behind the business idea. “I noticed this was a common issue for people with arthritis, neck and shoulder injuries, and for the elderly. Their only solutions were to buy a tumble dryer or get an NDIS supported home care assistant which was an ongoing cost for such a simple daily chore.”

In May, Kam’s Smart Clothesline concept placed as a finalist in the Ignite bootcamp.

"Assistive technology is one of the core drivers of an increased focus on advanced manufacturing in Melbourne's north,” says Ignite bootcamp presenter and Grand Pitch judge, David Williamson. “Programs such as Ignite provide an opportunity for people with great ideas to intensively validate and develop more resilient business models. It has been such a great program to be involved in."

Kam admits, “I have read a tonne of business-related books in the past few years and thought I knew it all. But this bootcamp was a practical process that challenged me with different techniques from various mentors. My idea was dissected by my peers, and I received valuable feedback from the mentors which helped fine-tune my product launch strategy.”

The bootcamp culminated in the Grand Pitch contest, where all finalists pitched their business concepts to a panel of judges. “The exposure was great and interaction with both judges and mentors has been valuable,” Kam says. “Post pitch night, I received feedback from some of the judges that was spot on. I appreciate their honesty and passion to help me succeed.”

David Williamson says, “Kam is addressing a real need with 27Eight's Smart Clothesline and was a worthy winner of Ignite. He faced very strong competition on the evening with some excellent pitches."

As for the prize money for his winning pitch, Kam is currently in the process of registering patents in overseas target markets and the money will go a long way towards contributing to that process. He is currently bootstrapping and self-funding through his full-time job, friends and family. Open to angel investment, Kam intends to become an innovative and socially responsible brand.

“Winning this prize has also boosted my confidence in myself and the need for the product, which is worth much more than $10,000!”

If you’d like to pre-order or invest in the Smart Clothesline, please contact Kam via email kam@27eight.com.