Partnering opportunity

UK SME seeks distributors for wheelchair in-situ transfer seats

Summary

Located in the United Kingdom, this SME provides in-situ transfer seats to wheelchair users who require transferring on and off aircraft. The aviation industry has neglected disabled passengers globally and this product is the first of its kind; putting passenger safety, dignity and comfort first. Distributors are needed across Europe to help provide cost effective, quick distribution and selling channels direct to customers.

Partner sought

Distribution partners will ideally span the whole of Europe and have established distribution channels and networks. The UK SME is happy to consider working with distributors on a country basis. Distribution partners will need to have a solid understanding of the mobility sector in their respective regions. An understanding of aviation and contacts in this sector such as those that operate within special assistance functions/departments at airports is also advantageous. Also if the distributor has good relationships with governments, charities etc this is attractive.

Description

The UK SME has developed an innovative seat allowing the transfer of wheelchair users to the aircraft seat in a quick, comfortable, dignified and safe manner. This wheelchair in-situ transfer seat has been invented and designed by a disabled air passenger who has experienced first hand the issues faced with flying a person with physical reduced mobility, including the dilemma in emergency situations. Essentially this product is a sling which has been combined into a seat that is placed into a users wheelchair. The user is then sat on top of the seat within their wheelchair. The product features: - Manual handles: 8 individual handles for manual lifting, giving greater option of lifts available in different spaces - Extension straps: 2 additional straps for extra leverage when manually lifting in tight spaces - Looped hoist straps: 2 back straps, 2 leg straps and 2 inner leg straps - A seat cushion made of cold mould memory foam - Cut out side panels to allow a wheelchair or aircraft seat belt to pass through - Pouches to hide away the looped hoist straps when not in use. The seat is also equipped with a convenient travel pouch to put a phone, passport and useful travel documentation in. The product comes in 4 sizes, small, medium, large and extra-large. It can load up to 200 Kg safely. It is professionally looking and discreet. The company is young, and in its start-up phase. It has a brand license deal with a recognisable brand within the aviation industry across Europe, including some private investment from a well-known business tycoon. The company is operating in the travel and the medical industry, as the transfer seat is supplied for travel purposes, yet has to comply with the medical requirements in the UK (with the MHRA - Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), and with the European standards for medical devices. The UK company is looking to expand further in European markets and is looking for partners who have established distribution channels and networks in the commercial aviation industry. A distribution agreement is sought.

Advantages and innovations

The market in both the UK and Europe is not to be under estimated with a large amount of untapped potential and opportunity. To put this in to context: In 2018, just in the UK alone it's estimated 1.3m passengers with reduced mobility requests were carried out. Around 82,000 of these required transferring on and off an aircraft. Just over half of the main commercial airports in the UK are not equipped with appropriate forms of transferring equipment. In Spain the issue is worse, where 22 of the 24 airports do not having transferring equipment available - this issue can be seen across Europe. Around 1.25m people in the UK are based in wheelchairs (1.9% of the UK population) and a further 12m wheelchair users across Europe. Whilst there are other similar products on the market (Only one is UK-based) there are two key factors that differentiate this SME from its potential competitors: 1) Passengers can purchase the product; therefore owning their own in-situ transfer seat, rather than having to rely on airports to provide them with a transfer solution. 2) The transfer solution is "all-in-one", a multi-functional in-situ transfer seat which is discreet and professional. The product fulfils three main needs for multiple stakeholders: 1) Passengers - ensuring their safety, dignity and comfort throughout their journey. 2) Special assistance (the handlers who lift passengers on and off the aircraft) - it avoids the need of having to place alternative transferring equipment under a passenger or lifting them under the arm and leg, saving time and money. 3) Airlines - crew and passengers now have a reasonable means of being transported off the aircraft in an emergency.

Development stage

Already on the market

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted


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