Invest NI helps new business take invention to market

A burst pipe in his static caravan led Lisburn entrepreneur Jason Paul to invent a product that has caught the eye of a major UK distributor and set his new business on the road to export success.

The product, called the floë system, is a simple way to drain down a caravan or holiday home to ensure that drinking water is fresh, or in preparation for winter frosts that can result in burst pipes. It can also be used in garden irrigation systems.

Mr Paul received a range of support from Invest Northern Ireland to help to develop a prototype of the product and bring his idea to market through his new business, APT Innovations. The company has recently secured a large order with Miriad Products Ltd, the UK’s largest leisure industry distributor, and is now actively seeking further export opportunities.

Jason Paul says: “The business has been successfully selling the product for the past six months through our e-commerce site and has received a lot of positive coverage in specialist caravan magazines. However, the order from Miriad Products has really boosted our turnover.

“This month we will exhibit the floë system at two tradeshows hosted by Miriad Products and in October will be taking our first steps into the US market by attending a trade mission in Atlanta.

“The range of support we have received from Invest NI has really helped us to move the business forward. We got assistance with technical and aesthetic design of the product, and also received valuable business development advice.”

The floë system been field tested by the National Caravan Council, Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravan Club, all with 100 per cent success.

Oonagh Hinds, Manager of Invest NI’s Eastern Regional Office, says: “The floë system is a great example of innovation in action. Jason saw a gap in the market for a product that would deliver a practical solution to a common problem for caravan and holiday home owners, and put a lot of time and effort into developing it. With Invest NI’s support he has been able to develop not just a strong product but also a strong brand and is already targeting the lucrative US market. We will continue to work closely with APT Innovations to help it market this product and develop its business model.”