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Speaker - Ruth Amos
Business Entrepreneurs and Famous Young Entrepreneurs, Motivational Women Speakers
Ruth Amos is the first to admit she fell asleep in the first exam of her A' Levels. She had had a tough year building up her business and was on strong medication for a leg injury. Yet she went on to become Young Engineer for Britain with a product designed at school for her GCSE's and is now a successful young entrepreneur.
21 year old Managing Director Ruth Amos has seen the steady growth of her StairSteady, brand which started with a GCSE project to enable her teacher's ailing father to use the stairs confidently, to becoming a household name.
The Sheffield entrepreneur hailed by Management Today as one of the female “Heroines for Hard Times” exudes confidence due to the continued success and total self belief in what she does.
Little wonder she is a hit on stage at colleges and universities, in particular, and has won a host of awards. She is living proof that engineering and science is not boring and every word she utters about business is pure motivational magic.
She is as tough in business as the steel made in her home town but she also has a keen sense or morality and duty when it comes to product build.
“The morals behind the business are very strong and feature strongly in my story. Because of the kind of product it is I have a moral responsibility to provide a product of the highest quality and real customer service. For us, the business model is more about creating a sustainable business which is long lasting. I am not here for the short term.”
She is also one of the new breed of entrepreneurs who are socially aware and joined forces with friends for a National Volunteers' Week, running a special golf buggy taxi service for people with walking difficulties.
She has even found time to find manufacturers of fair trading clothing for a fashion show which she arranged and promoted.
Aware that many of her peers lack confidence and are struggling in the toughest job market for decades, she feels duty bound to show what self determination and enterprise can do. After all, the product used by the National Health Service and countless patients started life as a GCSE design and technology project when she was only 16.
Ruth employs staff older than her and enjoys seeing her business grow. She says: “I don't think people my age realise the opportunities that are open to everyone. People see certain people or different roles and say I can't do that. Actually it is about instilling confidence in people and working to their strengths and finding out what their passions are. If you are passionate about something you are going to be able to talk about it and you are going to be able to have an interest in it. That's what happened to me. It is about giving people the skills to be able to go out there and do the things they want to do,” she said.
It is impressive that she was the youngest person ever to be on Management Today's top under 35 year old achievers and has represented the UK in mechanical Engineering at a top science and engineering fair and spoken at a host of events including an 'Inspiring Women' event run by the Chamber of Commerce in Sheffield. Last year she was named 'Woman of Achievement' by the Women of the Year Foundation.
It is not surprising, because when many of her friends were maybe thinking about their social life, Ruth was doing deals with an engineering firm to bring her product to market and sorting out complicated patent applications.
“Friends have always been supportive. At times I don't think they understood what I needed to do and why I was doing things. If you don't do the things I have done it is hard to understand. They can take a holiday when they want, I can't. It is a lot of work and a lot of time but it is definitely worth it in the end,” she said.
Although she is not blasé about rising sales she doesn't feel obliged to ring her parents with every success as she did when the business began. Nevertheless she is grateful for their continued support and advice of other businesses since becoming a manufacturer.
They were proud when she launched the product at the annual disability exhibition in Birmingham and support her ambitions to produce other products and grow the business. “They are board directors and when StairSteady first started I used to call them when I got a sale but now I call if I need some guidance but generally it is my decision. If I get things sorted and if there is a problem they know about it. If there is a success they know about it.”
The StairSteady is a horizontal rail at 90 degrees to the wall or banister that people can hold on to as they go up or down stairs. A friction device inside the handrail enables the user to move it up or down but it locks when weight is applied in order to give added support. The invention enables people who have difficulty with stairs to remain active - something which other disability products cannot do. It also fits any width of stairs and is not too expensive.
She is proud of her invention and her only disappointment is that her teacher's father, who had suffered a stroke, died before he could use it. But he was aware of the effort made on his behalf and would be proud that it has gone on to help many others who need a mechanical helping hand up the stairs.
Young Engineer for Britain 2006
Design Most Likely To Benefit the Disabled 2006
Design Most Likely To Benefit the Community 2006
Young Entrepreneurs – Runner up 2006
Derbyshire Young Achiever 2006
Intel ISEF Science and Engineering Fair – Finalist - Represented the UK in Mechanical Engineering 2008
Management Today 35 Under 35 – Ruth was the youngest person ever to be entered onto the list 2009
Women of Achievement – by the Women of the Year Foundation 2010
Yorkshire 42 Under 42 2010
Overall winner of NOAW awards 2011
Winner of the NOAW Young Entrepreneur award 2011
Ruth is available for motivational and inspirational talks about:
• Making your voice heard as a young entrepreneur
• The responsibility of a youthful rising business star
• Being a teenage engineer, manufacturer and designer
• Bringing a product to market – patent and design hurdles
• Female entrepreneurship
• Social awareness in modern manufacture
Writing for a competitive world – workshop’ ‘Interview Skills – workshop’ - The Writing for a Competitive World workshop was a fantastic start to Post 18 applications for our students. Feedback from both staff and students was overwhelmingly positive and students found Ruth an inspiring presence.
We have booked again for next year.
King Ecgbert School
Just a quick note to thank you again for the brilliant opening keynote for our summer school last week. You hit exactly the right tone and I received many positive comments afterwards from our students about being inspired by your talk. You explained the processes, the learning's and the issues about building the (any) business really well and to manage it so young was just amazing. So thanks for a great start to the summer school and for being a great inspiration to our students. University of Surrey
Thank you so much for coming to do our prize Giving on Tuesday evening. Your talk was truly inspirational and parents, pupil and staff have not stopped talking about you! May I take this opportunity to wish you continued happiness and success in all your endeavours and I hope it will not be too long before we welcome you again to St Catherine’s With renewed thanks and very best wishes Si Paula
Ruth is a genuine inspiration. Her performance was professional, warm and very specifically appropriate. Staff and students were very impressed both with Ruth’s story and her demeanour. A highly impactful presentation . Bournemouth & Poole College
"Ruth personalifies the very essence of true Entrepreneurship..not satisfied with running a successful, flourishing, nationaly-recognised business based on a socially inclusive product she invented. She constantly strives to help and support others in business and education..an ongoing story as inspirational as she is to everyone she meets." Director
"Engaging, Entertaining and Exceptional! Also professional polished, inspirational and knows her stuff. Fabulous role model."
"Ruth Amos joined us at one of our events to lead a discussion on accounting for SME's, drawing on her experience. Her approach was refreshingly practical, dynamic, and inspiring. The feedback from all the young people was overwhelmingly positive. Ruth is a great public speaker and example to all budding entrepreneurs. We definitely hope to work with her again in the future."
"Ruth was relaxed and confident in her speech; she has a warmth and openness that engaged our students. She also has so much energy and passion for what she does and has accomplished a lot for one so young. I was very pleased with Ruth’s visit, having someone who was so recently in our student’s shoes, to speak, undoubtedly made an impact. She also spent a lot of time talking to girls at the reception afterwards and I know they really enjoyed that." Headmistress, Girls Senior School
Ruth Amos, 22, an Entrepreneur and business women from Sheffield is set to take part in Create 32 Innovation for Austria, a prestigious project aimed at stimulating Austria’s economy and industry for the next generation. Ruth will form part of a group of ‘Future Makers’, a diverse group of international and national experts, entrepreneurs and participants from all sectors that have been invited to take part in the project. To avoid generating the usual ideas and plans for business and the economy, and to avoid the introduction of bias, Create 32 has decided to bring on board 30 young, dynamic "Future Makers" for its innovation process, out of which one third are under 35 years, half are female and two thirds are international. (For details of the experts see: http://www.create32.at/ )
Ruth said ‘It’s very exciting to be involved in such an event; the team involved is so diverse and knowledgeable. It’s an honour to be chosen to join.
An interview with Ruth Amos
Who or what was your motivation to achieve?
My parents, they always worked hard, expected the best from us and were real inspirations.
Why is it important for businesses and organisations to motivate staff in recession?
As human beings we thrive off motivation, what better way to increase productivity and create a positive work culture than through motivation!
What was the turning point of your business life?
For me one of the biggest moments in my business life was employing someone. It taught me a lot about myself and also about the business that I wanted to create. One of the hardest was overcoming the loss of a supplier, but at the same time it was one of the best it allowed me to grow.
What was the turning point of your personal life?
I would probably say when my dad had serious heart problems, it made me realise how fragile life is. It also made me realise i should take more time out.
Were there times you thought you would not succeed?
Many times! The funny thing is often when i felt my lowest the next day i would be given the best opportunities, i always try to be VERY optimistic, and so far it’s kept me doing well.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future
I would like a portfolio of businesses, to travel more and to kep having fun in my work.
Can you delegate?
At times i can, but if i feel it’s very important than i have to do it myself. I am trying to get better, but it’s not something that comes easily.
What makes a good manager or leader
Someone who can assess the situation from the outside, leading, like it suggests is about direction. It’s about choosing the right paths and making decisions. Keeping a business, team or project heading in the right direction.
Why do you think it is important to book an external speaker
I think having external speakers are exciting, they can say things that people within the organisation could not. The saying ‘a preacher is never welcome in his own town’. Its hard to listen when you think you know what is coming, external speakers are exciting, have had a different journey and a new perspective.
What advice would you give to youngsters who have a business idea?
Just go for it, start small, work out the easiest way to make it happen and then grow. Ask friends and family for help, and also don’t be afraid to ask already established business people for help or advice.
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