Murgitroyd Innovator Launchpad winner Turtle Pack enables anxious kids to swim

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Entrepreneur Michael Harkins wants to use his winnings to effectively market the fun swimming aid across its launch in 2018.

The second winner of the Murgitroyd Innovator Launchpad competition hopes his Turtle Pack can wash away the anxiety of young swimmers.

Winner Michael Harkins is presented with his cheque. Pic: Cat Thomson

Winner Michael Harkins is presented with his cheque. Pic: Cat Thomson

Murgitroyd Patents Director Keith Jones presented 25-year-old Michael Harkins with a prize package worth £10,000, including a cheque for £6,500 and that all-important custom Betabrand space jacket.

Michael describes Turtle Pack as “a fun swimming aid designed for children aged 3-6”.

He said: “It could be the difference between them going home crying and not wanting to do it again and having the time of their life.”

The strap-on shell is a three-tier floatation device that helps children become more confident in the water, while keeping them afloat in the correct position to swim.

The finalsists (L-R): Hoolr's Alasdair Ireland, Michael Harkins and Jamal Bajali of ALEX App. Pic: Cat Thomson

The finalsists (L-R): Hoolr's Alasdair Ireland, Michael Harkins and Jamal Bajali of ALEX App. Pic: Cat Thomson

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The other finalists, Hoolr and Alex App took home prizes and toasted their success along with Michael and Murgitroyd at a celebration lunch in Edinburgh.

Speaking to The Scotsman during a Facebook Live later that afternoon, the former swimming instructer explained how the idea came to him.

“I was running my own swim school and we used a lot of different swimming aides,” said Michael.

“It was really through frustration at how they weren’t teaching children effectively how to swim, but they were also quite restrictive, uncomfortable and didn’t really build a child’s confidence.”

The Autumn competition entry videos were uploaded to social media and voted on by members of the public until the judging panel were left to choose between a final three.

Watch more: Facebook Live: Murgitroyd Innovator Launchpad winner Turtle Pack

Director of Patents Keith Jones said he was “privileged” to be part of the competition’s finalists judging panel.

“We were very impressed by all three finalists,” he said, adding “ the thing that edged Michael ahead was the completeness of the story that he told us.”

He was also impressed with the winner’s “neatness and innovation of the solution” to address the problem.