Entrepreneur maps out route to success

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A Yorkshire entrepreneur has established a tactile maps business which improves the quality of life for partially sighted people, after receiving support from Sheffield Enterprise Agency (SENTA).

After collaborating with the art and design research centre during her time at Sheffield Hallam University, Patricia Dieng is now the director of TacMap.

The company specialises in tactile map technology, which helps blind and partially sighted people gain a greater understanding of their surroundings.

The products enable visitors to navigate around complex layouts and have been endorsed by the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind.

Ms Dieng said: “The suite of products has been tested extensively by SRSB and the company Eyecan and is in continuous development. We’ve now launched into the UK market, including a debut installation of the large static maps at Kelham Island Museum and soon at the new Sheffield Moor Market. Running a business can be challenging. It involves hard work and making decisions on your own.

“Our navigation system is now used in places such as museums, bus stations, schools, parks, indoor markets, blind societies and hotels and I believe it is the beginning of a long adventure.”

Paul Tinsley, SENTA enterprise manager, said: “Most Work Programme clients come to us with the germ of a business idea or a set of skills and then go on to build and launch a business based on these. In Patricia’s case, she had already started her business - but needed our help to turn it into an income-generating company.”

SENTA provides support to entrepreneurs and start-ups.