Student’s trailer hitching aid is awards finalist

An invention which takes the physical exertion out of hitching and de-hitching trailers and caravans, in a safe and secure way, has earned an IT Sligo student a place in the national final of the Enterprise Ireland-backed Student Entrepreneur Awards 2017.

Sligo’s Paul Roper, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Quantity Surveying at IT Sligo, invented the Lock On hitch, a fully automated device for attaching trailers.

“I worked in the distribution business for several years before going back to college, and I kept noticing that attaching trailers often posed challenges for work colleagues and clients,” says Paul, who came to IT Sligo as a mature student in 2015.

“The Lock On hitch is designed in such a way that it enables a wheelchair-bound person, for example, to safely hitch and de-hitch a trailer.

“It can also be used on slippy or uneven terrain such as marina slipways, allowing you to attach a trailer to a vehicle stationed on safer ground.”

The Student Entrepreneur Awards are backed by Enterprise Ireland, Intel, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Grant Thornton, the objective is to encourage third-level students to start their own business as a career option.

“Paul’s invention and his determination to commercialise his product is a wonderful example of student entrepreneurship” said Niall McEvoy, Head of Innovation at IT Sligo.

Paul’s invention has already won the Best Pitch Audience Prize at a Regional Innovation Showcase.

The 2017 Student Entrepreneur Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Cork Institute of Technology next Wednesday, June 7.

In the meantime, Paul is busy completing his end-of-year examinations in quantity surveying.

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