Global leader in rehabilitation equipment named north's most pioneering innovator
THE founder of a Lisburn-based manufacturer of healthcare products that support posture for children and adults with disabilities has been added to local science's prestigious hall of fame.
James Leckey, founder and chief executive of globally recognised Leckey Design, has been named as the eighth 'Innovation Founder' by Connect at Catalyst Inc (the former NI Science Park).
Civil engineer Leckey (59) will pick up his gong at the 2017 Invent Awards in Belfast's Waterfront Hall on October 5 in front of more than 600 investors, entrepreneurs, executives and student innovators.
He follows in the footsteps of an esteemed list of previous recipients including Martin Naughton (2016), Brian Conlon (2015), Dr William Wright (2014), Dr Peter FitzGerald (2013), Tom Eakin (2012), Dr Hugh Cormican (2011) and Prof John Anderson (2010).
Established in 1983 with Leckey at the helm, the pioneering company has positively changes the lives of thousands of adults and children living with disabilities through its research, design and development of posturally supportive products.
Originally based in his parents' garden shed, Leckey Design now employs more than 130 staff, has sales of more than £15 million and exports to 30 countries.
Leckey Design has focused on innovation through collaboration with therapists, parents, carers, universities and experts around the world to create postural support products which are therapeutic, comfortable and life enhancing for leisure time in the home, school or in respite care.
Ian Sheppard, regional director NI of Invent 2017 sponsor Bank of Ireland UK, said: “Innovation is a vital instrument of entrepreneurship, and James Leckey is a fantastic illustration of this.
"His business exemplifies the creative and commercial talent we have in Northern Ireland, highlighting the significant contribution company founders make to the local economy.
James Leckey said: "It is a great privilege to receive the Innovation Founder award. I feel especially pleased to be included within such a distinguished group of entrepreneurs. Leckey is a great company doing amazing work with brilliant people – I see this award as just recognition of all their passion, commitment and hard work."
Catalyst Inc chief executive Dr Norman Apsley said: "Each year the Innovation Founder award is given to a local innovator who has successfully pushed the possibility of their business idea beyond boundaries and we are delighted to recognise the outstanding success and qualities of James Leckey through this award.
"He and our other Innovation Founders come from a wide variety of sectors but they all share a common characteristic; having the tenacity and vision to develop home grown innovation into remarkable success stories.
"They are all a testament to the fact that in Northern Ireland we are as capable as anywhere in the world at creating an outstanding breakthrough businesses."
The Invent Awards (details at www.invent2017.co) is the final celebration dinner of the Invent competition and Catalyst's search for Northern Ireland's next breakthrough invention.
The 12 finalists have come through several challenging rounds of pitches, assessed by an independent expert judges and are now in with a chance of winning a share of the £33,000 prize fund and a coveted place on the NI Tech Mission to California.