Bra for breast cancer rehab wins Grand Ideas competition

Friday 22 April 2022
A postoperative bra for breast cancer rehabilitation has been crowned the winner of Massey University ecentre’s Grand Ideas competition.

Grand Ideas winner Lucy Grunfeld

Last updated: Friday 22 April 2022

A postoperative bra for breast cancer rehabilitation has been crowned the winner of Massey University ecentre’s Grand Ideas competition.

The competition gives Massey students and staff the chance to pitch their business ideas in order to win $5,000 of seed funding, and support from the ecentre to help develop their idea.

There were 57 entries this year, with the winners announced at a virtual event on Wednesday night.

Master of Design student Lucy Grunfeld took the top prize and the People’s Choice Award with her product Comfi, a postoperative bra for breast cancer rehabilitation. The bra is designed to empower its users by creating positive emotional connections.

The postoperative bras currently on the market don’t adapt to a patient’s changing needs and can increase the trauma they face in recovery. Comfi bras have been designed for increased comfort and user control, while allowing adjustability in size and fit, as well as functionality to meet the changing medical requirements in short- and long-term use.

The Grand Ideas funding will contribute towards Comfi’s second prototype development, IP protection and further market validation.

“I’m thrilled that the judges have recognised the potential of Comfi, and I want to thank all the experts and patients that gave their time and invaluable insight into their respective practices,” Lucy says.

“I look forward to working with Massey and entrepreneurs to refine this product further and make cancer survivors' lives more comfortable.”

Second place was awarded to Chemical Bioprocess Engineering Graduate Nelson Harper for his Precycle businesss. Precycle is a cleantech development company creating new technologies to recycle high volume waste materials. The Grand Ideas prize money will be used to build a small pilot plant to allow industry trials and commercialisation on their first products before seeking larger investment.

PhD student Muhammad Rehan’s robotic capsule for gut health diagnosis took third place. The robotic capsule can travel through the entire gut and collect a sample from a specific location in the gut in order to improve diagnoses.

In addition to the top prizes, category winners recieved $500.

Christine Ronson’s pitch, Little and Fresh, a ready-made meal service for toddlers, was named as the Best Undergraduate Pitch.

Women & Wealth, a financial education platform and community that aims to arm women with the financial tools and knowledge they need to build wealth, which is the brainchild of Lucille Erwee, received the award for Biggest Social Impact.

There were two winners of the Te Tohu Whakapakari Whai Rawa Hāpori award for Māori students; Tanaya Wikaira for her pitch Following the Moon which is a creative writing project around healthy ways to cope with trauma, and John Te Amo for his Wellbeing App based on the principles of Te Whare Tapa Whā (Māori health models). 

The Grand Ideas pitches were judged by Professor Meihana Durie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori; Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha, Founder of BDÉT; Rachel O’Connor, General Manager - Marketing of The Factory; and Dr Sean Mackay, Senior Commercialisation Manager at Massey Ventures Ltd.

Dr Farah Palmer, Associate Dean – Māori, and Professor Durie judged the Te Tohu Whakapakari Whai Rawa Hāpori (Ākonga Award); Kristina Sokolova, Student Development Coordinator judged the Best Undergraduate Pitch; and Dr Samantha Gardyne, Senior Lecturer of Masters of Sustainable Development Goals, judged the Biggest Social Impact category.

The ecentre offers the chance for budding entrepreneurs to gain valuable hands-on experience and knowledge, and runs a programme of events throughout the year.