INVENTOR: PROFESSOR VELIMIR GRUJIČIĆ
Professor Velimir Grujičić, a member of Serbian Academy of Inventors and Scientists, was born 05. May 1940. in Serbia.
He has been engaged in field of inventing research and science since 1971. So far he registered more than 20 inventions, innovations and patents. His first projects were practical patents for the household. These products still justify their original usability and purpose. They are still in use in virtually every household.
Ekovel Step Correct, adjustable orthopedic foot-correction insole is an invention for which he received the highest recognitions at the domestic and international exhibitions of patents.
As a new invention in years to come professor Velimirs Ekovel Step Correct have brought huge attention and has been awarded 6 gold medals in prestigious patent exhibitions: “BRUSSELS EUREKA” ’95 and ‘98, “Nikola Tesla” and “Mihajlo Pupin” Belgrade ‘95, “Archimedes” Cyprus and Moscow ’98 and ‘99.
For his innovational efforts professor Velimir Grujičić has been awarded special prize “Tantemalis” on Brussel’s expo “Eureka 96“, after which followed numerous other prizes, diplomas, recognitions…
He has opened his first Ekovel center for feet correction in 1999. in Serbia.
History of Development
HISTORY OF INVENTION
As he is a mechanical engineer, all of his patents have mechanisms in service of their purpose. His previous major invention (an cigarette mouthpiece with mechanism for gradual reduce of inhaled cigarette smoke with a final goal of quitting smoking without abstinence crises) has putted him in the mind set of resolving issues in the way that they appeared – gradually. His leading theory was that smokers had a long period of habituating to cigarettes, and they all started from one or two per day, ending with 20-40 and more, in time. Therefore, quitting smoking should be the exact reversed process. In this way body and mind can be brought to their natural state without suffering from withdrawal.
Being himself a person that suffered from flat feet and pronation syndromes he paid special attention to correction of these deformities. As in his previous invention, his leading idea was gradual, step by step process of correction that wouldn’t disturb human body structure suddenly and thus provoke any problems and painful conditions.
Prior to inventing an orthopedic aid for his condition (that is also the most common feet condition in general population) he had to find a way to determine the exact correctional needs of individuals to be treated. Since at that time there had not been such precise instrument that would determine exact levels of feet arch, he have developed it himself. These measuring units were later patented and also exhibited on World patent and invention exhibitions.
In an empirical process of determining the ideal foot shape for one’s body constitution, in years to come he measured feet of thousands of his students. Associating with many orthopedics in the process, he came up with the solution for orthopedic support for the foot that would be capable of resolving most of the deformities present in general population – a prosthetic he named “Step Correct”.
HISTORY OF PRODUCTION
Step Correct – the adjustable orthopedic insole, had to be made from many parts and elements joined together in a very precise device, easy to use and comfortable device. Such production needed to be conducted in well-equipped facility. Establishing one of its own would be a huge investment in production machines, facilities and labor.
While there was a lack of investors interested in developing such factory and product at the time, professor Grujičić had gained a support from his colleagues. Therefore, the first prototype of “Step Correct” has been made by future engineers – students on practice in Mechanic school in Belgrade.
In order to make the world to pay attention to his invention that he was certain it will resolve many people postural conditions and improve their lifestyle from idle to more dynamic and thus healthier, professor decided to self-invest in exhibiting his patent on all major exhibitions he could have reached. He collected enough expert’s opinions (of extinguished Yugoslavian orthopedists of the time) on the product and process of feet and posture correction to present the designs and prototype on expos worldwide.
His patent proved to be a major success, awarded with 6 gold medals and over 20 significant recognitions from 1994th to 1999th. And finally, his goal has been reached – a major German producer of orthotics had become interested in investing in the product by buying a license for production of his invention. Pre-contract have been made and things were starting to look good for “Step Correct”.
Unfortunately, due to the force majeure, that contract had to end before it had a chance to start. Unstable political situation in Serbia led to impossibility of putting this contract to work, and things were once again on the zero point.
Disappointed, but not discouraged, in 1999th professor Grujičić decides to establish a small production and a sales point of his own – a company he named EKOVEL.
HISTORY OF EKOVEL
Since the forming of complete production have been too expensive, self-financing itself from sales of professors previous inventions, Ekovel started producing “Step Correct” in only one size, the one that he found to be most common in population: a European shoe size 38-39.
Company establishes its first diagnostic and feet correction center in Belgrade, Serbia, in which professor Velimir puts his practice to work, dealing only with population that has this exact shoe size (some kids, most women and a few men of smaller body constitution).
In years to come his practice shows great results in subjects of his treatment, and word starts to spread. Many previously sceptic doctors joins in time and starts to give recommendations for his products, and the sales grew. Ekovel feet correction centers are being established in all major cities in Serbia and in countries in the region.
Ekovel uses these finances to complete the production line and starts producing “Ekovel Step Correct” insoles in all necessary sizes to cover the correctional needs of all people interested, also investing in several other professors’ inventions in the field of correction of deformities of the foot.
In the past decade, Ekovel attracts attention of many foreign investors and experts in the field that had a chance to get acquainted with its work, and starts spreading its franchise into Europe.
Today, Ekovel has its operating facilities in 20 cities in Serbia and the region, but also in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, England, Romania, and most recently Ukraine.