A company which makes mini powerboats for lifeguards has been named best start-up in the Midlands heat of a national competition.
Asap Water Crafts, on the Loughborough University campus, picked up the accolade at the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards because of its determination to create a useful product which will help to save lives.
The one-person craft – an alternative to a jet ski – was developed to help lifeguards reach casualties more quickly after company founder Ross Kemp gained first-hand experience of the difficulties associated with water rescues.
As well picking up a £1,000 prize, the company received a two-year mentoring package from Lloyds Banking Group and is through to the national finals, in Edgbaston on April 23, with a chance to win £50,000 and two years of mentoring.
Mr Kemp, an industrial design and technology graduate at the university, said: "It was a shock to win.
"The mentoring prize is going to be amazing as it will allow me to create the business I want and achieve the goals I have.
"I'll be using the prize money to develop the product through to manufacturing stage and to get to a time where we can sell the products to lifeguards and rescue stations."
Hopefully, you'll see the rescue craft on a beach near you soon."
Andy Youngman, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking, said: "Seeing the calibre of businesses pitching at the regional heats has really demonstrated the wealth of entrepreneurial talent we have across the Midlands.
"From working with last year's winners, we've seen the tangible difference a mentoring programme can make to these young enterprises."
Mr Kemp had the idea for the craft during life-saving practice sessions in Loughborough.
He devoted his final year project to developing a prototype and in 2011 was chosen as one of the first graduates to be supported by The Studio, the university's initiative to help recent graduates' businesses.
The Studio provides a supportive environment for graduates taking their first steps in business, with professional office space, access to the university's resources and expertise and mentoring.
It invests financially in each graduate through a royalty agreement, with the graduate paying a percentage of sales turnover once they start trading.