This site has carried many stories about Simon Goude and his innovations, and the press release from Business Link Hertfordshire gives us an excuse to give Goude a call and ask his views on the help he’s had from local enterprise agencies, the DTI's Small Firms Guarantee scheme and the risk averse nature of British banks when faced with innovative products that need nurturing before, during and after they get to market.
Two years ago Business Link Hertfordshire helped Goude gain a government soft loan of £120 000. Despite the fact that 80 percent of the loan is ‘guaranteed’ by the government, one national clearing bank was too risk averse to help out a small British manufacturer. A manager at NatWest, however, looked favourably on Goude’s business plan and nodded through the loan.
Now the company is looking to expand and has gone back to Business Link Hertfordshire to seek extra finance to fund a sales and marketing push.
“We're at the stage where we need to grow the team and focus on developing the brand through new products. If you forget the value of new products, you have no leading edge,” said Goude.
Since launching the company in 1999, Goude has sold 5000 sets of Indicator gloves (the mitts and winter gloves with integral LED patches) and 10 000 LED strips. The company handles its own distribution and has 250 live accounts, many of them now active with the Centric Safe Haven child seat from Canada, some of them with the Phat range of cruisers and choppers from America.
A new product for the Autumn is the Goude Smart reflector. This is a £2.50 after-sales reflector that is wind-driven and spins.
“It will attach to panniers and rucksacks and will be in addition to the reflectors already on the bike for regulatory reasons,” Goude told BikeBiz.
“The reflector flutters as you cycle along and reflects street lights in a cheap, no-battery-needed spinning motion.”
A patent has been applied for.
While working in London as an architect, Goude made a daily cycle ride along the roads of Rotherhithe, London. A brush with a lorry one evening convinced him of the need for something that would give cyclists greater visibility. The Indicator Glove, with light-emitting diodes powered by a coin battery, was born.
“There's not a lot a cyclist can do to defend his road space,” said Goude.
“By having lights on your hand, you draw attention to the fact that you're indicating. You give yourself an extra few seconds. I liked its psychology, the way it empowered you as a cyclist.”
Goude Design has won two ISPO Dupont awards and SOLTEX Innovations Awards in successive years. In March 2002, the company won the New Product Award (innovative category) at the Cycle Leisure Show at the NEC.