Reach and Rescue won the overall award at Venturefest North West 2018 in front of an audience of hundreds at Manchester Central.

The Wigan-based business invented a 17-metre versatile rescue pole which is used by 80 per cent of the UK’s fire and emergency services. Its tagline is ‘reaching out to save lives’.

Tech Manchester project lead Patricia Keating, who was on the event's Three Tribes panel, was impressed by the system and described it as “a simple approach to innovation”.

“It doesn’t always have to be highly technical. Reach and Rescue is an example of well-thought-out engineering,” she added.

The firm is now adapting the product for animal rescue through the RSPCA.

Reach and Rescue triumphed after pitches from 12 finalists.

Corporation Pop won the digital innovation competition for its Xploro mobile app, which uses 3D augmented reality interactive models and games to prepare children for going into hospital, reducing their stress and anxiety.

CEO Dom Raban produced what was described by Keating as “the perfect pitch”.

→ OPINION: VENTUREFEST NORTH WEST RAISED THE BAR IN 2018

The winners of the innovative established business award were Rochdale's Whitham Mills Engineering, which has created a food waste tipping solution.

Urban Chain triumphed in the service innovation category for its blockchain-based platform which helps consumers switch to a better energy deal instantly.

Telcom’s Doug Ward won the audience competition with its Node technology which connects landlords and tenants, while Corporation Pop and Brain In Hand were runners-up.

The event was hosted by Century Tech founder and CEO Priya Lakhani.

The other finalists were Fulfilment Crowd, Call Me Help, Clyz Labs, Million Stars Sustainable Events, Radic8 and Redman Racing Boats.

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