Micro-Fresh, the Leicester antibacterial coatings firm has been propelled with help from to Innovate UK the government initiative that helps businesses grow.
Annual turnover of Micro-Fresh is now into seven figures with growth exceeding 25% every year and having recently completed a £120,000 study, supported by Innovate UK, it was revealed that their product could be used in plaster to stop mould growing on walls.
As a result, Byron Dixon, the founder of Micro-Fresh has now launched a not-for-profit company, the Micro-Fresh Foundation, which will support its use in social housing.
“The Plaster Project is relevant to me as I grew up in a social housing area of Leicester and experienced asthmatic symptoms as a child.” says Byron “This is a typical function of mould in damp social housing.”
He says he had a short attention span at school and was “always doing stuff to interrupt the class” but developed a love of chemistry.
“We did the crystal garden, growing crystals in soda glass and I just loved it. It seemed like magic to a child. I remember my chemistry teacher saying to me, ‘Byron, if you want you can actually sail through your chemistry exams.’ So I did.”
The company has now opened overseas offices in China, India, Portugal, Vietnam and Singapore and has just started operating in the USA.
Micro-Fresh products are now stocked in John Lewis, Next, Debenhams, Matalan, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S and many other outlets.
Byron is now looking to tap into the vast American market, where there is huge demand for antibacterial products – particularly since the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa. He says the Micro-Fresh coating can also protect against E. coli, MRSA, salmonella and listeria. His lightbulb moment came in the changing room of his local football team.
He adds, “I play football and during some dressing room banter one of the lads said that if it stops fungus, it should stop bacteria like MRSA and E. coli. We did some tests with the University of Leicester and we came up with the antibacterial side and now we’re into the food industry and healthcare.”