Experienced Worcester management consultant Hugh Mathew teamed up with inventors David Broadbent and Mike Haigh who had designed a simple flood defence measure for home use following the extensive flooding throughout the UK in recent years.
Working closely with the University of Central Lancashire, the team developed a range of affordable products that can be deployed quickly and easily in the home and finally brought the Floodkit range to market in 2015 under Managing Director Geoff Green.
After years of sophisticated design, extensive research and testing, Floodkit now delivers a complete range of inexpensive products for homes to protect doors, air bricks, toilets and showers. The products are Kitemarked, where British Standards exist, and patented.
Although the Company have made sales to a large insurance company, water companies and some local authorities as well as individual householders, the company has been disappointed with the general overall sales growth.
“Considering that we can protect a normal house for less than £500 with British Standard tested products, the sales inertia we have experienced is puzzling” explained Hugh.
One of the problems the company faces is that insurance companies do not yet consider flood protection measures in a similar way to burglar alarms or car alarms where individuals are rewarded for taking sensible precautions to prevent loss.
People are also sometimes reluctant to purchase a product that they feel they may not ever need to use – or require infrequently – no matter how inexpensive and easy to store that it might be. Finding the right route to market and the right marketing message is also a challenge.
Through the BizSmart scheme, Floodkit received 14 hours of SEO-focused consultancy and two ‘Proof of Concept’ grants.
“The first was in order to secure British Standards, and we match-funded £15,000 for the required £30,000” saidHugh.
“The second POC grant was for two new products that needed patents of £4,000 each, then £4,400 for exhibiting products.
Managed by Worcestershire County Council, the funding programmes are delivered by the authority’s Growth and Investment Team and part-funded by The European Regional Development Fund. They provide support ranging from advice to individuals looking to start a business, through to grants and bespoke consultancy for expansion and relocation projects.
Worcestershire Proof of Concept ‘fund specifically supports local innovation- helping businesses like Floodkit to bring new products to the market.
With an improved SEO focus, and after securing the British Standards Kitemark, Floodkit anticipates improved sales for 2018. The company currently employs three people, and the aim is to now keep business running efficiently before steering it into a position where it will be able to take on more people.
“The individuals we’ve dealt with throughout this whole process have been superb” added Hugh “This is a very efficient system that has been very smooth.”
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