Engineer Grenville Phillips has won the National Innovation award for developing a machine that assists in strengthening buildings.
Phillips was named the top Barbados innovator for the 2013 to 2014 period out of a field of just over 100 entries at the National Innovation Awards ceremony held on Saturday at Courtyard by Marriott.
“At construction sites, builders normally bend steel reinforcement to the point of failure before putting it into buildings,” Phillips said in explaining the reason for his innovation that aimed at helping builders get around a costly alternative.
“To bend steel reinforcement properly costs around $10,000 for the equipment. I’ve created a product that costs around $600, and it is marketed around the world in earthquake-prone regions.”
Encouraging Barbadians to constantly look for new ways of doing things, he said: “We can invent new products, or improve existing products. And because we are human and we are not perfect, every single manufactured product and management process that we’ve created can be improved. Anyone who uses a product can improve that product”.
Phillips, an engineer and president of Walbrent College, a school for builders, was awarded $75,000 for his innovation.
National Council for Science and Technology Director, Charles Cyrus, said that the purpose of these awards, financed by the Enterprise Growth Fund since 2003, is to promote creativity among Barbadians.
“Even at this point in time many people are not aware of the fact that there is an Innovation Fund that is managed by the Enterprise Growth Fund. The competition was designed to get a number of projects going to that fund.
He said the awards programme was also, “developed to assist in growth of the local business sector through the commercialization of the winning ideas and the development of feasible innovative business ideas.
“I’m aware that a number of business enterprises have emerged from this competition…perhaps there is a need for more enterprises to emerge with greater visibility.”