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Product Design student, Jenny Gregg from Comber, Co.Down graduates with a first class honours after a successful 4 years studying at the Belfast Campus. Leaving University with more than just a degree she has her sights set on disrupting the equestrian market with her innovative designs.

Due to her love of horse riding, choosing to study at home was a priority for Jenny who explained what drew her to the course,

“I always loved creating and making things to provide solutions to problems. The course was right up my street with problem solving and open briefs that allowed me to create new solutions as well as the freedom to use and learn new manufacturing techniques. I was also drawn to the fact that the degree was 100% coursework based.”

Combing her two passions, horse riding and product design as well as the tools taught to her through her degree it wasn’t long until Jenny identified a gap in the equestrian market creating a customisable girth with a unique pressure relief system. The product can potentially improve horse performance, avoid rider disappointment due to missed competitions, negate costly vet bills, and most importantly improve horse welfare and comfort.

Jenny explains,

“I’ve had my horse Elvis for 10 years and after a few years of competing across Europe I realised that all of the girths I had bought were causing him undue discomfort, and that friction and sweating were causing nasty painful blisters called Girth Galls. When I developed the prototype, I was then able to compete at national and European level while creating comfort for Elvis using my pressure relief system. When I spoke to the Research and Impact team at Ulster University, they gave me funding and supported me with my patent application and the rebranding of the company.”

Studying at Ulster didn’t mean Jenny’s experiences were confined to Northern Ireland as she was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to present her product to investors at an international pitch off in Philadelphia. The trip resulted in funding for her business, Crafted Equestrian, highlighting the strength of Jenny’s design capabilities.

Speaking of the experience she said,

I was able to make contacts in America such as Delaware Valley University which has a huge equine department and discuss my product with them about future testing and potential to use it on their horses as well as meet Angel investors who were on the judging panel.”

On return from her tip she has continued to go from strength from strength with her concept going on to win the Agri-Science and Student Category at Invent 2018 and the Grant Thornton Emerging Business award in June 2019. Using the funding received through these competitions, Jenny has been able to protect her product putting the winnings towards Patent applications.

With ambitions to make her business and ‘dream job’ a full-time career, now she has graduated Jenny has applied for funding with Invest NI and hopes to officially launch her business and first product in 2020.