CorkSol Ltd. has been supported for the last two years by an Innovation and Growth Specialist at Innovate UK EDGE who assisted with business strategy and steering the company to a grant of £113,000 from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund. CorkSol’s growth ambitions include increasing turnover and headcount.
Novel home insulation material
The Yorkshire company markets a novel cork-based, home insulation material. It is redeveloping the product with nano-additives to enhance its thermal performance, creating a next generation coating that will protect homes against heat loss and damp from the inside out.
This cost-effective new solution is set to have a positive impact on the UK housing market, tackling the nationwide issue of fuel poverty, while reducing the negative health impact of cold homes. Some 7.7 million UK houses are poorly insulated, with many residents suffering from fuel poverty, struggling to heat their homes.
Tackling Covid's impact on growth
Jane McGeeney, of Innovate UK EDGE in Yorkshire & Humber, had already been supporting the business for nearly a year when the Covid pandemic struck, immediately denting sales. The UK market in private sector housing repairs and maintenance saw a near 40% drop in the three months to May 2020.
To support CorkSol, Jane was able to draw on different areas of expertise within the Innovate UK EDGE team across the North of England.
She said: “I was able to help them through that period, especially with their growth strategy, value proposition and how to gain access to finance. My role was as ‘critical friend’ and sounding board.”
Jane also suggested CorkSol explore the Sustainable Innovation Fund as a source of funding, in addition to the £150,000 the company had secured in angel investment.
Ambitions to build the business around the innovation
With Teesside University as a collaboration partner in developing the new product, CorkSol has ambitions to tackle bigger projects and to increase turnover from £600,000 to £1.5 million over the next two years.
As well as addressing the national issue around poorly insulated homes, managing director of Corksol, Joff Ward, is also hoping to see the product used on internal walls in schools, hospitals and new builds.
He said: “As a growing, small business it is often difficult to keep on top of the developmental work the business requires. Thanks to the support from Jane and Innovate UK EDGE we have had the breathing space to develop this next generation coating, which offers very real benefits to people living in fuel poverty and the opportunity to look at extending our product range even further.”
“Jane's level-headed, calm approach has been the perfect tonic for the hectic nature of our business and we’re grateful for all her commitment and support.”
Corksol also has plans to recruit three new members to its team to support its growing product portfolio and the next phase of critical developments.
Thanks to the support from Jane and Innovate UK EDGE we have had the breathing space to develop this next generation coating."