Nuclear sensor business Viridian Consultants is set for rapid growth after gaining help to turn its innovative technology into a commercial success.
Viridian recently completed a trial of its ViridiScope product at Sellafield with the support of Innovate UK funding. ViridiScope uses a laser to take material from solid surfaces and examine it in real time for radioactivity.
It is safer, cleaner and faster than existing tools and could save the nuclear decommissioning authorities in the UK tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds.
Co-founder wins Women in Innovation award
Viridian co-founder Professor Kym Jarvis won an Innovate UK Women in Innovation award in 2016. The award included a package of business support from the Enterprise Europe Network.
The business was formed by 3 academics and was keen to get support on turning its innovation into commercial sales.
The EEN helped the business by providing:
- recruitment training to secure 2 new engineers to support trials
- sales and export training
- support on gaining patents
Viridian wins EDF Energy contract
Viridian has since successfully priced and negotiated installation of ViridiScope at 5 nuclear sites funded through an SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) contract.
It has also signed a contract with French company EDF Energy to demonstrate how ViridiScope could work at Hinckley Point B.
The relationship with EDF Energy opens a potential export market as EDF runs the major French nuclear power stations and will be undertaking decommissioning in France.
Help came at perfect time
Viridian is projecting growth in its turnover from £500,000 this year to £10 million in 5 years. It expects to double its size from 5 to 10 employees in 2 years and grow to employ around 20-to-30 people in five years.
Professor Jarvis said: “We’ve all worked together for more than 30 years but as academics. The business side is quite new to us.
“For me, these aspects of the business are quite challenging, so I’ve really had to learn over the past few years. The sales aspect was particularly new to us. We are now going out with a product to sell.”
The support from the EEN came at the perfect time for us and has been extremely valuable.
Professor Kym Jarvis, co-founder, Viridian Consultants