A fledging tech business which has created a system aimed at improving foreign language skills has been shortlisted in a national competition run by Virgin Media Business.
Learning Labs, which is based at Innovation Birmingham Campus, is one of six businesses from the West Midlands to make the final 150 in the 'Pitch to Rich' programme.
Called FlashSticks, its products uses Post-it Note technology and sees colour-coded notes printed with a foreign word, translation, visual icon and phonetic to help with pronunciation and sells for £4.99 in WHSmith, Staples and Amazon.
An accompanying free app enables the user to wave a smartphone or tablet over any FlashSticks note to hear the precise pronunciation on a video clip.
The idea came to director Richard Allen while he was a on a business trip and started to use hand-written Post-it Notes around his hotel room as a way to learn Spanish.
Chief executive of Learning Labs Veejay Lingiah said: "We came to the Innovation Birmingham Campus to establish the business in 2013 and now have a team of 12 people working on product development and new distribution channels.
"FlashSticks packs are available in six European languages, as well as British sign language, from beginner to more advanced levels.
"People that use it tend to spread the word for us and we're about to launch a whole new range of exciting digital features so we need to get the word out there in a much bigger way now.
"Our new app will enable users to scan any random object for an instant translation as well as providing a host of fun challenges to test their learning."
The five other West Midlands businesses on the shortlist are charity T-shirt firm Doodletogs, ready meal creator The Fusion Kitchen and mother and baby product business Mama Designs.
Also making the shortlist are Komuteez, a foldable shoe aimed at commuters, and ProdReps which aims to connect those looking to make extra money with companies and product makers.
There are 150 companies shortlisted across three categories - new things, start-up and grow - which were selected after a public vote.
More than £1 million of cash and business support will be awarded to the winning business in the three categories including £250,000 for a marketing campaign for the winner of the 'Grow' category which Learning Labs and Mama Designs are in.
Next month, ten semi-finalists in each category will be selected by a panel of judges after which public voting will recommence with companies' scores reset to zero.
During the two-week voting window, an online leader board will give a tally of the number of votes each business accumulates and the finalists will be announced on June 16 with a live final on June 26.