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Co Down slimming device firm named company of the year

By Yvette Shapiro

The Co Down firm behind a pioneering device to help tackle obesity has been named company of the year at the annual Propel Awards.

Neurovalens - founded by Dromore doctor Jason McKeown - has developed Stimu Slim, an electronic headset that targets an area of the brain known to suppress appetite. The device induces a metabolic shift within the nervous system which reconfigures the internal functions of the body.

Padraig Canavan from Invest NI said: "Neurvalens has combined a pioneering innovative concept with a determination to succeed and it represents the perfect example of a local start-up with an exciting future ahead."

Propel is a 12-month programme which helps participants fast-track their business ideas and explore global markets. It has helped to create nearly 120 companies and almost 270 jobs.

Other winners last night included Belfast-based IOLABS, recognised as breakthrough company of the year for its innovative hardware used by electronic music composers. A special award for high revenue growth went to Ballymena-based Huge Rugby, an online shop for rugby products. Pokertree, a Tyrone-based microbrewery which has developed craft beers for restaurants and retail outlets, won the award for best go-to market strategy.

Applications are currently open for the next Propel programme, targeting early stage export-focused businesses.

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