Global design leader named pioneering innovator

James Leckey founder and CEO of Leckey design, flanked by Dr Norman Apsley, CEO of Catalyst Inc, left, and Ian Sheppard, regional director with NI Bank of Ireland UK at the awrad-winning firm's Lisburn headquarters
James Leckey founder and CEO of Leckey design, flanked by Dr Norman Apsley, CEO of Catalyst Inc, left, and Ian Sheppard, regional director with NI Bank of Ireland UK at the awrad-winning firm's Lisburn headquarters

James Leckey, the founder and CEO of globally recognised Leckey design, has bene named as the eighth Innovation Founder recognised by Connect at Catalyst Inc as looks forward to the culmination of the Invent Awards 2017.

Sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, the awards recognise the best in innovation and development and Mr Leckey has been named the Innovation Founder for 2017 joining an esteemed list of previous recipients including Martin Naughton, Brian Conlon, Dr William Wright, Dr Peter FitzGerald, Tom Eakin, Dr Hugh Cormican and Prof John Anderson.

Established in 1983, the Lisburn based company positively changes the lives of thousands of adults and children living with disabilities through its research, design and development of posturally supportive products.

Starting out working from his parents’ garden shed, 34 years on Leckey, a civil engineer, now employs over 130 staff and exports to 30 countries.

The business 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.

Speaking at a special lunch with the 12 Invent 2017 finalists, Mr 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.’

Dr Norman Apsley, CEO Catalyst Inc 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. James 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 at creating an outstanding breakthrough businesses.”

The award will be presented at the Invent Awards on October 5, at the Waterfront Conference Centre, Belfast, where more than 600 investors, entrepreneurs, executives and student innovators will gather to congratulate James and the Invent 2017 winners.