Glow-in-the-dark cable boss wins innovation award
A Devizes entrepreneur has scooped the Born Global prize to find the best new business idea in the South West with the potential to go global with a cable that glows in the dark.
Linear Guidance Illumination was crowned Business West’s Born Global Business 2013 in front of an audience of leading international business experts, mentors and investment angels at Leigh Court in Bristol on Monday.
The company beat over 75 applicants from across the South West to win the competition, which was sponsored by accountancy and investment management group, Smith & Williamson and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The prize was £25,000 worth of international business support and marketing.
The unique and interactive grand final put the judging decision of the top three finalists in the hands of the audience. After all ten finalists pitched their business ideas, the audience, using an electronic voting system and £30,000 worth of Born Global competition currency, were asked to choose their top three and decide where to invest their money.
To add to the drama of the occasion, the three finalists were put through their paces again by a panel of Born Global judges, made up of two investment angels, an international trade adviser and an accountant, to decide their ultimate fate.
The winner, John King of Linear Guidance Illumination won over both the audience and the competition judges with his innovative illumination and LED systems for extreme environments.
The flexible marking system, based upon electro luminescent materials has infinite possibilities but in particular is being targeted at the emergency services.
Mr King said: “This is such a great result for us. The whole Born Global experience has been invaluable as part of our preparations to launch the product world-wide; it has offered us the ability to drive the business forward in the coming months. The amount of publicity generated from winning Born Global will increase the awareness of our product to businesses both locally, nationally and internationally.”
The two runners up were Sealwise, from Axbridge, Somerset which provides a unique environmentally friendly antibacterial laminate board that is 100% waterproof and Tick Box Solutions from Exeter, Devon, a revolutionary online platform enabling voters to search, compare and talk to candidates all in one place.
Each were awarded a prize package of business services and mentoring worth over £8,500 to help them develop new export markets and support them on their export journey.
One of the judges, Dave Mouncey, a partner at Smith & Williamson’s, Bristol office, who advises entrepreneurs and growing businesses, said: “The quality of the finalists’ presentations was outstanding with each one demonstrating a real passion for their idea and a clear determination to develop it into a sustainable business.
While there could only be one winner in this competition, there is every reason to believe that many of the finalists will go on to achieve success, at home and abroad. They have demonstrated a huge amount of energy and drive throughout this process.
What’s needed now is the right professional advice and financial backing to ensure they maximise their market potential.”
Born Global was launched three years ago by Business West to find the best new business idea in the South West with the potential to go global. Applicants pitched propositions in the early stages of the competition at auditions in Bristol, Bath and Plymouth. They were then shortlisted and the final ten were invited to pitch at the grand final on Monday.
“It was a very tense but exciting day,” said Stephen Robertson, Chairman of Business West. “The final was a hugely demanding occasion for the finalists but they all impressed us with their professionalism, the outstanding potential and innovation in their business ideas and their ability to perform under pressure.
“But what really matters is that these businesses will create wealth and jobs in the South West.
“We are delighted that Linear Guidance Illumination has won with their outstanding illumination systems for extreme environments. However, all our finalists are winners in their own right. This is not the end; Born Global is a journey.”