The inventor of a small and simple water-saving device looks set to tap into new markets after winning Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch competition, organised in association with Marks & Spencer.
Nigel Banford, who brought the Waterblade nozzle to market just four months ago following a two-year development process, was named Big Innovation Pitch winner on the final day of Ecobuild, the UK’s largest show dedicated to construction and energy, and will now be invited to work closely with Marks and Spencer.
The Waterblade fitting turns a small trickle of water into a thin sheet of high-pressure water as wide as your hand. It operates at a flow of just 2.5 litres per minute, significantly lower than the standard tap rate of 20 litres per minute, delivering sizeable water and water heating costs. Waterblade says combined water, wastewater and associated energy savings could reach as high as £75 per tap per year.
Banford said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Big Innovation Pitch. The competition brought a lot of people to the stand and introduced Waterblade to a lot of people whose opinions I really value.
As an inventor, the Big Innovation Pitch was fantastic to be involved in. It was such a positive experience being amongst all the other innovators who created some wonderful things.”
Waterblade was one of more than 80 entries to this year’s Big Innovation Pitch, created by Ecobuild in association with Marks and Spencer to unearth innovation across the design, construction and energy sectors.
The company came through a number of judging stages to take the title. Having been included on a 15-strong shortlist, Waterblade was then one of just five companies invited to pitch to judges live at Ecobuild on Thursday, 10 March.
Banford said winning the Big Innovation Pitch has boosted Waterblade’s profile.
“Even if I hadn’t won, the Big Innovation Pitch would still have brought a great deal of attention and benefits in terms of being noticed,” he said. “If you have a new product, people need to know it exists and realise it has some potential. The Big Innovation Pitch made that happen for me.
“We’re a young company who would like to develop Waterblade’s possibilities. I’d love to be in a positon where we’re selling Waterblade to a number of markets in different countries, making the most of its potential.
“Ultimately, I’d like to be able to say, as a result of Waterblade I’ve helped people and organisations reduce their water consumption in a really positive and engaging way.”
Martin Hurn, Event Director, Ecobuild, said: “We were delighted with the quantity and quality of entrants to this year’s Big Innovation Pitch, and pleased to announce Waterblade as the worthy winner.
“The competition once again gave forward-thinking SMEs the chance to raise awareness of their solutions for increasing efficiency and sustainability and a platform to take their products to the next level, fast tracking their penetration into a wide range of markets.”
Imogen Cust, M&S Engineering Research & Development Manager added: “The Ecobuild Big Innovation Pitch is a wonderful opportunity to meet great inventors and innovators with solutions to real life energy and engineering problems – and this year was no exception. We were really impressed with the diversity and originality of the submissions to the Big Innovation Pitch, and are looking forward to working with the winner Waterblade.”
The Big Innovation Pitch was launched at Ecobuild 2015, with Endo Enterprises – inventors of an energy-saving central heating additive – triumphing over 40 other products entered. Marks and Spencer was so impressed by the product’s proven ability to save 15% on heating bills using a simple organic solution that it is now trialing it across 18 stores.
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Ecobuild is the leading exhibition and conference for the UK construction and energy market, attracting over 40,000 industry professionals from across the whole supply chain. The 2016 event will see an evolved proposition for the event to focus on areas of industry growth and market priorities such as housing, infrastructure, next generation innovation, technology and people.
For Ecobuild, sustainability extends to the show and once again Ecobuild and UK-GBC will join forces with the Sustainable Stand Awards to recognise the sustainability achievements of space only exhibitors.
As an event Ecobuild achieved ISO20121 Sustainable Event Management accreditation in 2014 and continues to work hard to reduce the environmental impact of the show. Ecobuild also aims to increase the positive impact on communities through its partnership with industry charity CRASH who work with the industry to create places that care for people thus making a real difference to the lives of vulnerable, homeless people and those young and old with life-limiting illnesses.