An inventor from Redditch is set to inspire other innovators in the region, boosted by a successful pitch on Dragon’s Den. Pete Hill, founder of Petvictus, has developed a cat feeding bowl that reduces food waste and keeps food fresh in warmer weather. Thanks to support from two EDRF funded programmes, and approval for investment from Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden, Peter will inspire others wanting to bring their inventions to market at an innovation event in Worcestershire this November.
Fed up with throwing away cat food that had spoiled in the warm weather, Pete developed the idea for a lidded cat bowl with ramp that would open when a cat or small dog steps on the ramp. This would prevent wet food from drying out and keep flies away. To enable other cat owners to benefit from his idea though, he needed funding to develop the product.
Pete spoke to the Economic Development Unit at Redditch Council who referred him to the Proof of Concept Programme – an ERDF funded programme to help Worcestershire inventors bring new products to market. Funding through this programme enabled Pete to buy the tools to make the moulds for his Pedaldish product, which then also helped him to leverage a deal with Pets at Home for an initial order.
In 2017, spurred on by this initial order, Pete entered the ‘Make it Happen Challenge’ – a contest run by the Worcestershire Innovation programme WINN, where inventors were invited to submit their ideas. Petvictus were highly commended in this challenge and Pete has been invited to speak at the next WINN Wednesday event on 21st November, where he is planning to inspire other local innovators with his personal journey.
“We never talk about failure, but we should, because that’s how we learn. I will be combining my skills from my time as a stand-up comedian, with my personal journey as an inventor to inspire other innovators to keep up the hard work and not give up.”
But it doesn’t end there. Inspired by the value others had seen in his products, which by now also included Katfone – an ultrasonic whistle to call cats home, Pete appeared on Dragons Den. Having done his research, he appealed to cat owner Deborah Meaden and successfully won investment. The exposure has led to an increase in orders, so much so that Peter cannot currently keep up with demand.
Pete recognises that had he not had the initial support, feedback and recognition through the Proof of Concept and WINN programmes, it would have been a very different story:
“Even brilliant new products don’t sell straight away because people generally don’t like change. However, if you can give them confidence in that product and make them see the value then they will start to want it. It is thanks to the support of the Proof of Concept and WINN programmes that people have this confidence in Petvictus products and can see the real value they can make to their lives.”
“I really wanted to make a product that would make life better, but also be environmentally friendly, because I knew that would motivate me to be more successful. Pedaldish ticks all the boxes because it cuts down on food waste and can last a lifetime.” He said.
Petvictus products are available exclusively from Pets at Home until next month, when Pete is hoping other wholesalers and stores will stock his products in time for Christmas. With a goal to have his products in all UK pet stores by the end of 2019, and the upcoming WINN Wednesday event to plan for, Pete has plenty to keep him busy, especially as he says he has other exciting new products in development:
“I believe everyone has one brilliant product or idea in their mind and whilst Pedaldish is something I am really proud of, I think my best is yet to come.”
This just goes to prove you can’t stop true innovators from innovating!
Anyone wanting more information on Pedaldish and other Petvictus products can visit the website www.petvictus.com.
The Proof of Concept Programme is an ERDF funded programme available to businesses in Worcestershire. More information can be found on the Worcestershire Business Central website - www.business-central.co.uk/proof-of-concept.
WINN is an ERDF funded programme available to businesses and innovators in Worcestershire. More information can be found on the WINN website - https://winn-hub.com/.
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