Anglesey is dominated by a small number of manufacturers producing a narrow range of products. In an effort to improve diversity and strengthen the local economy Menter Môn provides support to develop new products. The aim is to reduce the risk during the pre commercial phase and facilitate the development of working prototypes.
Support is available to exisiting businesses with fewer than 10 employees or an individual with an idea for a new business. The support will reflect the requirements and can include the following:
Mention Health and Safety to people and the usual response you get, after the moans and groans, is ridicule and resignation. But Health and Safety, for John Andrews of Aberffraw on Anglesey, was the impetus for a brilliant new business idea, so brilliant in fact that the product was the first of its kind in Europe.
“It just came to me”, says John Andrews. “In 2000 I was recuperating at home following surgery and was watching a programme on the Discovery Channel about repetitive strain injury (RSI). I decided there and then to devise something to deal with the problem, which I duly did. I then sold that product idea of a palm and wrist support to a company under licence.”
Over the last decade John has expanded the range to include a portable laptop stand, and since taking redundancy from Anglesey Aluminium two years ago he has been able to devote more to the business. His innovative products have won two FIRA Ergonomic Excellence Awards and are sold across the globe.
Menter Môn has assisted both practically and financially. It has provided John with invaluable advice on several aspects of his business, including prototyping, packaging design and sourcing suppliers. It also reduced the risk at the pre commercial stage which gave him the confidence to turn an idea into a marketable product.
To be the first in any marketplace is an exciting yet potentially daunting place to be. This is where Anglesey-based, family-owned, Hedyn Cyf, found itself as it launched the first ever Welsh language phonetics resource for children, parents and teachers.
Learning with Sam was the idea of Carolyn Tudur, a teaching professional who has long used phonetics learning in the classroom. She is almost evangelical about the power of phonetics and has written a number of children’s books of her own based on this tried and tested technique.
Carolyn’s two sons, Llew and Gruff, are partners in the business. They explained “We would often talk about how we could make the teaching technique more mainstream. We are self employed carpenters so this is a totally new venture for us, but one which we are very excited about.” The new business was launched at the National Eisteddfod in 2011. They have started with three different sets, each made up of 5 individual books, a teddy bear and a computer game which will offer access to another 5 interactive books.
Menter Môn has provided design support to create the “Learning with Sam” character, prototype funding for the pilot phase and ongoing business advice to ensure that the idea became a viable business.