ESTEEM Student Startup: Helping You Find Your Balance

Author: Tyron Pretorius

Tyron PretoriusTyron Pretorius

The Balance Water Pitcher was first conceived in the ESTEEM Design Entrepreneurship class when Alex, Val, and myself were tasked with designing a product to solve a real-world problem. We identified that because of the number of afflictions that the elderly have to cope with e.g. arthritis, handling items around the home can be a struggle. Turning towards the design of pitchers in particular, we found that if the handle of the pitcher were to be aligned with the center of gravity then it would be much easier to use…. And it is so that the Balance Water Pitcher was born!

Balance Diagram

After Design Entrepreneurship finished in the summer, all three of us wanted to see if we could turn this idea into a real business. Once the fall semester started we then began looking at the next steps. Our first watertight prototype was 3D printed using Matt Leevy’s lab, allowing us to take our design to people in the South Bend community to get their feedback. People say that there is a “night and day” difference when handling our pitcher compared to traditional pitchers.

Inspired by this positivity, we then looked at the commercial viability of this idea and applied to the McCloskey business plan competition to get critical feedback and put our name in the hat for the $200,000 of prizes.

Moving forward we are working with the Notre Dame Intellectual Property Clinic to see if we can patent key aspects of the design. Notre Dame is fantastic for free resources like this for students and the community. For example, we are also getting help from the Notre Dame Community Development Clinic to form a legal business entity. Last but not least, the IDEA center have also been extremely supportive of us, providing feedback to progress the business and the funds needed to do so. With all the positive customer feedback and these resources behind us we are confident that people all over the US will soon find their Balance.