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Sinclair Fire takes first place in GradFactor competition

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Cambridge University students James Popper and Chris Goodfellow have won the inaugural GradFactor competition for entrepreneurial students and graduates with their Sinclair Kitchen Fire Detector. The detector uses proprietary infrared flame detection technology and can detect fires rapidly with a near-zero false alarm rate.

GradFactor, a partnership initiative between government-backed GradFactor Enterprises and Barclays, was launched earlier this year to help university students and graduates to fund and develop their own start-up businesses. Sinclair Fire Limited, which was incorporated in June 2013, was one of 87 entries from more than 20 universities from across the UK.

Following regional heats to select 15 semi-finalists, only five teams made it through to the finals which were held recently at the Escalator in the East End of London.

Also in the finals were student businesses from the University of Nottingham, the University of Manchester, Cass Business School and the University of Strathclyde. 

I was extremely impressed by the calibre of the five finalists and their pitches. All had very clear and concise business plans, which clearly took a lot of time and effort to develop. I was blown away by all the innovative ideas; a truly creative group of individuals.
Zoë Smithson, Chief of Staff for Barclays Corporate Bank Operations

Barclays believes there is no better start on the path to success than access to enterprise, employability and financial skills. Through initiatives like GradFactor we are committed to helping the next generation achieve their ambitions.

Zoë Smithson, Chief of Staff for Barclays Corporate Bank Operations, and chair of judges for the GradFactor final, said that it was the simplicity of the winning duo’s idea that resonated with the judges. The Sinclair Kitchen Fire Detector uses specialist technology which makes it possible to effectively differentiate between controlled infrared sources - such as gas hobs and cooking - and dangerous kitchen fires. As a result, emergency response times are reduced by an average of two minutes compared with a heat detector, putting fewer lives at risk and leading to 30% less fire damage. 

Sinclair Fire holds patents for this technology, in the USA and South Africa, with applications pending in Europe and China. The device’s claims have been validated by independent fire testing at the Building Research Establishment, and the detector has successfully undergone field trials in graduate accommodation at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. The product will be targeted initially at social housing when it goes to market.

Keith Mabbutt, Chief Executive of GradFactor Enterprises said: “With the feedback already received, it is clear that GradFactor has been a memorable occasion for all those who entered and took part and I am delighted to have begun our journey of backing great businesses across Great Britain in such terrific fashion.”

Learn more on how Barclays is supporting young entrepreneursLearn more on how Barclays is supporting young entrepreneurs
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