Young inventor opening gates to success
A year of hard work hangs in the balance for 13-year-old Patrick Roskam who is launching his invention, the Gudgeon Pro 5 in 1, at the Fieldays Innovation Centre this month.
Patrick won the Best Pitch Award at the SODA Inc Innovation Den last year, wowing the judges with his unique fencing tool which is used to quickly and accurately hang gates.
Following feedback at Fieldays, Patrick improved the product, which was originally conceived as a science fair project, to make it adjustable with a spirit level on top and tape measure down the side.
Patrick spent seven days with mum Angela, brother Edward (11) and sister Victoria (5) at the APL factory in Hamilton during the April school holidays assembling the first 500-edition run of the Gudgeon Pro.
"It was a huge commitment to do 500 units but it is my dream to get it to production," he said.
He hoped sales from the product would allow him to repay some of the hefty loan he took to fund production.
Despite only being 12 years old when he pitched his idea at the Innovation Den last year, Patrick overcame his nerves and spoke confidently to judges about his product.
"I was so proud to see him get up there by himself and speak; he didn't even hide behind the lecturn," Angela said.
Patrick wants to encourage others to enter the Innovation Den, as the networking and contacts he made were invaluable.
He said the mentoring from SODA Inc during the workshop was great, as well as practical as he now starts working on marketing.
Vodafone has also been instrumental in offering ongoing support and logo creation/branding.
"The Innovation Den is such an awesome launching board for people," Angela said.
"It was such a positive experience.
"We're extremely proud of Patrick. It has been a family effort but it is his baby and he has been involved the whole way through, from the idea right through to using the CNC machine and powder coating each unit."