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The Start Up Loans Company Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year 2018

Phelps Innovations (Doddl)

Start-up name: Phelps Innovations (t/a Doddl)
Founders: Catherine Dodd and Rosie Phelps-Goggin
Started in: March 2016
Based in: Gloucestershire
Business description: Ergonomic children’s cutlery

Ergonomic children’s cutlery brand Doddl was founded in 2013 by sisters Catherine Dodd and Rosie Phelps-Goggin, a former RAF intelligence officer.

They were astonished to find that a worrying number of children still start school unable to use a knife and fork properly. Dodd came up with the idea of completely redesigning children’s cutlery to make it easier to use.

The founders managed to secure a £20,000 loan from The Start Up Loans Company to go towards the initial product tooling and went on to rack up some vital pre-order sales through a Kickstarter campaign.

After 40 prototypes and 18 months of research in conjunction with child development specialists, created the innovative Doddl knife, fork and spoon – perfectly shaped for a child’s hand to promote the development of the pincer grip.

Available through its website, Amazon, Boots and Kidly, Doddl is now helping children to eat independently in more than 30 countries around the world and has been warmly received by the baby-led weaning community.

It’s also regarded as the UK’s number one baby-led cutlery brand by parenting bloggers and influencers, as well as child NHS occupational therapists, nutritionists and child development specialists.

But this is just the start, with three new product lines already in the works for 2019 in conjunction with the University of Gloucestershire, and more designs based around mealtimes and feeding at an advanced stage of development planned for 2020.

Optiat, which uses waste coffee grounds to make skincare products, picked up Highly Commended, and Holy Moly Dips, which makes all-natural avocado dips, was Commended.

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