Village inventor’s firm attracts millionaires’ interest

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A Horsham based start-up business may become a multi-million pound company after it attracted the attention of potential investors in the UK’s largest trade show for start-ups.

Tony Higson, 35, from the Horsham district, won an IF international forum of design award in Germany in August. Has now won Innovator 2013 at the Bstartup show for his carbon-neutral garment carrier and commuter luggage firm, Worldline Luggage and its product Freefold, in a Dragon’s Den-style event in London on Friday November 29.

The father-of-three received unanimous approval from a panel of four multi-millionaire mentors - for his five-minute pitch in front of a live audience at the Midas Touch piching event at the business show.

The Horsham Entrepreneur is now in talks of dual-branding his products after being contacted by Marks & Spencers and negotiating a global licensing deal with Dahon, one of the largest folding bike companies in the world.

Mr Higson said: “I am very hopeful for the future.”

The ‘environmentally conscious’ businessman produces a carbon-neutral, light-weight removable garment carrier for cycling and airline commuters.

He explained: “The idea of the product came from me cycling to work and training for marathons for charity but within that I’ve developed a kinship for the environment.

“You learn to enjoy the outdoors and you’re a bit more environmentally conscious.”

He said one of the panel members was keen to discuss the potential of the business and aid with mentoring.

The future looks bright for the product designer, but he is still pushing for backing from a secondary investor to make the product in the Uk and under 235 grams, due to the poor offering of start-up funds, he added.

Mr Higson has more than 13 years experience selling and designing luggage.

He is originally from London and moved to the Horsham area around eight years ago.

He said: “I’ve no intention of ever moving from Horsham, I love it here - I like that people have more of a say in local government decisions and education is good.”

Sharing the reasons behind his success, he said: “I’ve got a very clear direction of where I want my business with solid large interest.

He continued: “I think you’ve got to be able to commercially assess a product - does it fulfill a real need and is it scale-able?

“The only other thing to have is determination, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, I think the key is to learn from your mistakes and resource your weaknesses.”

Freefold will be British manufactured from January 2014 to fulfill the entrepreneur’s ambitions for it to be a ‘made in Britain’ Brand.

It currently produces the world’s lightest premium garment carrier made of foam and ‘the British version will weigh less than the water in your steam iron’, he added.

Mr Higson will also be providing local jobs including a logistics manager and marketing manager as of July next year.

He is currently in talks with a distribution company in Singapore for the cycle to work and duty free markets and negotiating with 30 London borough councils to offer his products to staff at a discounted rate.

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