|When business start ups get a ‘No’ from the Dragons, it usually means one thing: the end.
With 90% of business start ups failing in the first three years anyway, it’s not surprising that most entrepreneurs, who get a rejection, quietly slip back into the world of work and steady employment. Probably only ‘Trunkie’ is the exception that springs to mind when one tries to think of companies that have gone onto better things after getting the heave-ho from the Den.
There is however another; Manchester based Discrete Heat have steadily built a business from scratch, manufacturing their innovative skirting board that doubles up as a radiator. Now selling in over 20 countries, their ‘ThermaSkirt’ product is installed in places as far afield as the Falkland Islands, Uruguay, and even the frozen north of Norway, as well as places closer to home such as Falkirk, Uxbridge and Norfolk.
Now the company has secured the single biggest contract in its history with a National Care home builder and in turn the NHS.
Following a chance meeting with a leading NHS specialist in infection control, the company took a fork in the road that has proven to be a real winner. Martin Wadsworth, Managing Director and Dragons Den survivor explains:
“We had been growing the business since we got the boot from Dragons Den, but with a general recession in the housing market, it had been steady rather than spectacular. Then we did an install for Dr Barzo Faris, Microbiologist at Manchester MRI, and we discovered a whole new market place.”
Dr Faris recognised that replacing conventional radiators with a slim, sealed skirting board unit could reduce the risk of infections such as C.Difficile and MRSA which typically hide and breed in the warm, dusty spaces behind the radiators. Dr Faris suggested the company developed the ThermaSkirt product further, to best suit the needs of a demanding Healthcare Sector, and especially the NHS. The result was the ‘EasyClean’ version of their popular residential skirting heating system.
(The new EasyClean heating system from Discrete Heat for the healthcare market. Developed in co-operation with the NHS and health providers, the EasyClean replaces radiators and skirting trim in one convenient package.)
Martin Wadsworth, Managing Director, Discrete Heat Co Ltd.
Having been installed and tested in 4 NHS facilities including Trafford General and North Tees hospitals, the EasyClean system has trumped other forms of heating including radiators and underfloor heating.
The system has now gained national recognition by the NHS procurement program ‘ProCure 21’. This means the EasyClean system is now included on the specification for all P21 projects, which have a combined annual spend of over £2bn.
The product has now also been specified by one of the Country’s leading providers of assisted living apartments for persons with physical and learning disabilities. With over 400 x 1 bed units planned every year for the next 5 years, it’s another major step change for Discrete Heat. Neil Mackrell, Project Manager for Altrincham based HB villages explains; “The EasyClean has been a real find for us, and the finished look and performance just superb. As a result we are specifying it on all future projects.”
Martin Wadsworth sums up, “With confirmed orders with HB Villages and the projects with the NHS, we’re expecting well over £1m a year for the next 5 years – and probably more. The potential in healthcare, mental health and assisted living is huge, and we have developed the perfect product for it – if only by accident. Sometimes you need to hang on in there and get lucky.”
Discrete Heat employs 25 people at their factory in Atherton Greater Manchester, and also has offices in Rostock Germany, Perth & Melbourne, Australia, and Poznan Poland.
Further information is available from Discrete Heat on 0845 1238 367, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the