Baldock businessman on his Dragons’ Den success story

AN ENTREPRENEUR is reaping the benefits three-and-a-half years after receiving backing from two of business’ most famous faces

Ian Helmore, of The Sycamores in Baldock, went on to entrepreneurial BBC TV show Dragons’ Den in 2007 almost broke but convinced his shower product which prevents Legionnaires’ disease could be successful.

Pitching his Steri-Spray concept to five dragons, millionaire investors Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis decided to back him to the tune of �145,000 for a combined 40 per cent stake in the company.

Since appearing on series six of the show aired in April 2007, the 43-year-old, who has also owned an industrial water treatment company for the last 18 years, has had his product patented worldwide while spending months perfecting the product ready for market.

Mr Helmore, whose Steri Spray business is based at Baldock’s Bondor Business Centre in London Road, with the help of the two dragons, has now secured deals with NHS Trusts, as well as schools and fire stations.

“It’s not well publicised but when most showers are out of action it’s because they’ve picked up Legionnaires’ disease,” said Mr Helmore, whose Steri Spray business is based at Baldock’s Bondor Business Centre in London Road.

“As I worked for an industrial water treatment company I saw one place that had 50 showers not working for that reason. I didn’t think it was right and thought there must be an answer.

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“That’s how I came up with the idea. I didn’t get a look in with big commercial companies as they weren’t interested in a small industrial business.

“We’d re-morgaged our house a couple of times and we were nearly broke so I thought let’s just try Dragons’ Den. We didn’t realise how much a patent costs and for worldwide it’s �100,000 so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Deborah and Theo’s backing. To most people 40 per cent equity sounds like a lot but some investors want 90 per cent.”

About having the pair on-board, he added: “They haven’t really been able to do a great deal while we have been doing the manufacturing side of things but they’re coming into their own now.

“It’s great that we’ve got both of them behind us as they have contacts that by myself I wouldn’t be able to reach.

“We’re just about to start our publicity drive now and it’s exciting times. It’s been a lot of hard work and we’ve had to put it in to get something back but I always thought it was going to work.”