Advantage West Midlands
Economic development agency, Advantage West Midlands. provides funding and support to encourage environmental businesses to establish and grow in the region
Mr Ralph Hepworth
3 Priestley Wharf holt Street Aston science Park
Water Protection Product offers Conservation Benefits
In a world increasingly aware of the value of potable water, Surestop Limited has developed a device to control domestic supplies at the flick of a switch.
Some three million UK homes annually experience leaking kitchen appliances, or burst water pipes and tanks. Leakages cost over £1.8 billion per year - according to a Halifax survey - and finding the stopcock in an emergency often proves problematic. Surestop offers a convenient 'flick-of-a-switch' cut-off to save water loss, and consequent damage, whilst giving householders direct control over water consumption.
Using UK-made components, Solihull-based Surestop, with around £1m turnover, has sold almost ¼ million of its straightforward valves, which can be inserted into any domestic water system. Usually installed close to the stopcock, the device gives direct control through a flexible tube, linked to a discreet wall-mounted panel. Although this resembles an electric light switch, it operates mechanically, using water-supply pressure to activate the on-off valve.
Having achieved specification of its modestly priced device with over 100 local authorities and housing associations, Surestop received support through the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM), and gained access to university expertise to develop in environmental markets. A Birmingham City University team appraised strategies needed to enter industrial and commercial markets where water conservation can be of both environmental and economic significance.
Dr Lynsey Melville's research found Surestop's simplicity of installation and positive, swift action particularly relevant to public service institutions, such as hospitals and schools. Her market assessment led Surestop to create a business development role, aiming at 15% sales growth.
Surestop can also be used in industrial applications to isolate appliances or sections of water supply pipe, quickly and easily. Opportunities were also identified in process industries and export markets, which require product development and corrosion-resistant materials research. Progress with relevant product developments is proceeding rapidly. Markets where water conservation is a priority, such as Dubai with its 'green' building policy, also offer significant potential. Surestop's product details can be found at www.surestop.co.uk.
Surestop Limited's Sales Director, Noel O'Donnell, says:
"Our initial domestic product proposition focused on household protection. However, significant opportunities exist in home and overseas commercial markets, where water conservation and financial savings are both important. With AWM funding, Birmingham City University's technical support has given us tools to plan strategy more confidently."
For further information please email Advantage West Midlands