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A tale of growth and innovation in Yorkshire…

Innovate UK EDGE


Innovation, creative or new idea concept using wood blocks with lightbulb

For the last two years, CorkSol Ltd has been supported by Innovation and Growth Specialist, Jane McGeeney, at Innovate UK EDGE. Jane helped the company with its business strategy and steered it towards a grant of £113,000 from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund.

Novel home insulation material

CorkSol, based in Yorkshire, markets a novel, cork-based, home insulation material. The business is redeveloping the product with nano-additives to enhance its thermal performance, as well as creating a next-generation coating that will protect homes against heat loss and damp from the inside out. This new, cost-effective solution is set to have a positive impact on the UK housing market, tackling the nationwide issue of fuel poverty, whilst reducing the negative health impact of cold homes. Some 7.7 million UK houses are poorly insulated; many residents suffer from fuel poverty and struggle to heat their homes.

Tackling Covid's impact on growth

CorkSol’s growth ambitions include increasing turnover and expanding its team. Jane had already been supporting the business for almost a year when the pandemic struck, which immediately dented 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 a ‘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 further innovate

With Teesside University as a collaboration partner in the development of the new product, CorkSol has ambitions to tackle bigger projects and to triple its turnover 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 business, it’s often difficult to keep on top of the developmental work it requires. Thanks to the support from Jane and Innovate UK EDGE, we’ve had the breathing space to develop this next generation coating, which offers true benefits to people living in fuel poverty, as well as 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. We’re grateful for her commitment and support.’

CorkSol also has plans to recruit three new members to support its growing product portfolio and next phase of critical developments.

About Innovate UK EDGE

Innovate UK EDGE delivers funded, tailored 1-2-1 support and bespoke services to businesses across the UK, helping them drive productivity and economic growth. Their support helps potential high growth businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, to become investment ready and secure funding and finance, and accessing new markets.

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