An educational toy, inspired during a toddler’s playtime in a Great Oakley garden, has secured the support of a Growing Corby grant.
The home-grown innovative toy is based on a system of lightweight plastic tubes and connectors which when fitted together create a whole host of imaginative playtime structures, from rockets and houses to boats, trains and planes.
Inventor, Jean Fisher-Taylor, owner of Ur-Tubes, explained how the idea came about.
She said: “My grandchild, Myles, wanted to build a den. We had piping tubes in the shed and some piping connectors and we were trying to put something together for him. But we didn’t have the right components.
“We started to play around with things, cutting hula hoops into sections to make brightly coloured tubes. When we had some bits we could fit together we built a truck, which became his fire engine, ice cream van, taxi and ambulance all in one day. It went from one thing to the next, all using his imagination. So we knew we were on to something.”
Eighteen months later, in August 2013, Ur-Tubes was launched.
Jean added: “It’s been really well received by nurseries, child minders and schools. And we’re delighted to have recently been awarded a grant from Growing Corby.
“Our grant will allow us to go to childcare exhibitions in Coventry and at London Olympia,” said Jean, “which is a great way for us to get out and meet the end users of our product. We are also looking to develop the product to give it even more play value.”
Jean said she was impressed with the support that was available from Growing Corby.
She added: “I don’t think people know enough about the services available to start-ups. This kind of grant is a huge help. We’ve been completely self-funded all the way through and it’s just great not to rely on loans at this stage of the business. This will enable us to grow even faster.”
The Growing Corby Business Growth Programme, made possible thanks to a £1.1million project supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will help local businesses and social enterprises, and companies seeking to move to Corby, to grow and thrive.
Through a unique programme of grants, internships, coaching, expert advice and targeted market research, Growing Corby aims to create over 140 new jobs in Corby, help over 90 individuals to launch a new business, support more than 200 local businesses to improve their performance and attract or create 60 new businesses to Corby by the end of 2015.
Ur-Tubes have also received support services from Enterprise4Corby, another ERDF project aimed at supporting businesses in the area.