Glasgow University nods to WheelAIR CEO’s business nous

CEO of WheelAIR, Corien Staels, has been recognised by Glasgow University for her entrepreneurship after successfully bringing an innovative piece of wheelchair equipment to the mobility market.

Staels has been awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Prize by the university, where she completed her MSc in International Business and Entrepreneurship in 2016.

Since graduating, Glasgow University has continued to support her as she has built up her company, Staels Design LTD.

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During her masters degree at Glasgow Staels conceived the idea of launching the WheelAIR cooling backrest cushion, which aims to alleviate overheating in wheelchair users.

Using inbuilt fan technology it cools the back and reduces core temperature by taking away excess heat and moisture.

This allows for instant comfort and better temperature control. The cushion also offers essential extra support through a unique blend of carefully selected foams.

Since launching her company Staels has won numerous prizes for her business and has won £100,000 in Scottish Edge in June and has recently closed a £100,000 seed round of investment.

Staels said the award from her former university was gratifying and noted that it is important to highlight how universities are impacting people in real and tangible ways.

“My development of the wheelAIR was undeniably accelerated because of my education at Glasgow University. Now, the wheelAIR is helping people in wheelchairs all over the world stay cooler and become more mobile. Together we are contributing to global progress.”

Meanwhile, Paul Fetti, senior lecturer in International Business and Entrepreneurship and past tutor for Staels, said: “I was very proud to introduce Corien as our Entrepreneur of the year last week. I cannot think of anyone I have met since joining the University in August 2015 that represents the true spirit of entrepreneurship than Corien. She not only wants to run a successful company, but she genuinely wants to help people with her innovative WheelAIR product.”

The WheelAIR recently launched onto the market via online channels and the company is currently in talks with various distributors around the world.

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