Young entrepreneurs who invented a portable menstrual cup cleaner while at the University of Bristol have won a Royal Academy of Engineering competition.
Winning the national ‘Everyday Engineering’ contest bagged recent graduates Kira Goode and Monica Wai a meeting with Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden and mentoring from the Academy.
The pair came up with the idea while studying at the University’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and they went on to win £17,000 from the University to kickstart the business.
Now called Eleria (formerly CupSquared), the business aims to reduce single use plastic waste and cut the costs of menstruating by making it easier and more discreet to clean menstrual cups.
Over a lifetime, the average woman will send two minibuses full of menstrual product waste to landfill and spend around £5,000 on menstrual products.
Kira, who studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Innovation at Bristol, said: “At University I was trying to find a cheaper and more sustainable period product and I started using a menstrual cup and wondered why more people weren’t using it.
“After conducting research with thousands of people it was clear the main barrier was that women were unsure how to clean and sterilise cups on the move, and that was really off-putting. We created Eleria to make these products more convenient and save money.”
Monica, who studied Management with Innovation at Bristol, added: “Getting the opportunity to be mentored by the Royal Academy of Engineering will be invaluable and we’re looking forward to speaking to Deborah Meaden and get advice on our business!”
Eleria is part of Runway, the University of Bristol’s incubator for student startups.
Mark Neild, Director of Runway and Senior Innovation Lecturer at the University of Bristol, said: “We are delighted to hear about Kira and Monica’s success in this competition – they have worked hard on their project.
“It is a testament to the tenacity of female founders and how young people can have a major impact on creating a more sustainable future for all of us.”
Eleria’s cleaning and sterilising case is currently a prototype and Kira and Monica are seeking investment to launch the product to market. You can find out more about the case and sign up to Eleria’s waitlist at eleria.com.
Eleria was one of three finalists in Everyday Engineering, including EcoPonics, a customisable vertical farming unit for gardens, invented by two 16-year-olds from Bristol, Anvith Sujay and Ashwin Madhusudhanan.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “It’s been brilliant to see such innovative and original ideas for sustainable inventions and to have discovered Eleria, the menstrual cup portable cleaning and sterilising case, which will help people to use a menstrual cup on the move, prevent landfill from menstrual products and save money.
“I’m delighted to see so many people getting into the engineering mindset and coming up with creative solutions to everyday challenges.”