Stephen Nolan and Sarah Travers meet the country's most innovative entrepreneurs. Here, they check out a new prototype for allergy testing among other business ideas.
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In last year's series,
I travelled the length and breadth of the country,
meeting some of Northern Ireland's most innovative entrepreneurs.
Who could forget Call Cop from Newtownards...
-Doing a runner!
-That's Stephen Nolan!
How low can you go?
..Snap It from Belfast...
..and Tug from Castlereagh?
Now that we've got a second series,
we've even more hungry entrepreneurs to show you.
This year, we're bringing in Sarah Travers.
-What are we doing this year, then?
Well, this time I'm going to be giving you
a little bit of a helping hand as we travel across the country
to meet some of the brilliant entrepreneurs out there.
We'll be hearing all about manufacturing in Moira...
And beds in where?
I know exactly what's going to be going on at home now.
People will be watching this and they love one idea...
Yeah, and then some of you at home will be saying,
"That's never going to work."
So that's why we've created the People's Panel,
members of the public like you and I looking at the products
and thinking to themselves, "That is going to actually work."
Hello, welcome to Made In Northern Ireland, and tonight,
first up, Stephen's off to Moira to partake in his favourite pastime.
Burgers! As Mark Carruthers would say, looking forward to it.
Lovely bright sunny day.
What's brought me down to beautiful Moira today?
Food, would you believe it?
And more importantly, a special sauce called Hollah.
Hollah was set up by young mums and best friends
Trudy Hodkinson and Paula Latuske in 2014.
And lucky for me, they've kindly invited me to a barbecue
to sample their wares. Mmm!
Hollah products range from Bucky Barbecue and Wingnut sauces
to chilli, strawberry and prosecco jam chutney.
And by the way, if I ever run out of burgers or food to eat,
the filming stops.
Keep it going, keep it going.
Where was the idea conceived?
-Who came up with this?
-So, take you back to what, 2014,
and we were on the east coast of America.
My family were out there for a couple of years
with my husband's work and Paula and her family came out to visit,
and we were getting ready to move
back home and both of us were going, you know what?
We both had been stay-at-home mums for a number of years
and we'd been neighbours, friends, and we said, you know,
we really wanted to start a business,
wanted to start a business together.
And what a business.
Sales of Trudy and Paula's hot sauces
are going from strength to strength.
But in the early days, it wasn't always that easy.
Do you know, if there was a craft fair in a church hall
the other side of Northern Ireland, me and her jumped
in the back of the car with the jars and away we went
and it very much started in our own kitchens.
And what are the lessons you've learnt?
Oh, so many.
That you wouldn't do again.
OK, we probably cooked in our own kitchens for too long.
My long-suffering husband is at the end of the bench here and
he would still talk about the time he came down at two o'clock
in the morning and there's me at the table labelling jars, crying.
-So there have been difficult times?
There's been times when we've been really stressed out.
But they're also the things that keep you going,
because we've done... I'm not saying we're through
the worst of it but we've been through some really tough times
and we're able to laugh about it.
# Hola, dime como estas? #
These girls have personality
and they've managed to infuse it into their recipes.
That barbecue sauce is beautiful.
-Which one's that?
-This is our Bucky.
-The Bucky Barbecue.
Yeah, there is a secret ingredient.
-Well, we're in Moira,
and we'd be very close to Lurgan,
and there's a wee dash of Lurgan champagne in there.
Is there? Is there indeed?
-What's Lurgan champagne?
That's why it's called... Yeah.
I've got a mate who'd be all over that too!
Right, let's get to the important stuff.
What do these Hollah sauces actually taste like?
We put prosecco in a chilli jam because we thought,
well, why wouldn't you?
So what's the potential, then, for this to really grow?
Well, we've done our research.
The sauce market in the UK is worth about 1.3 billion annually.
We would just like to get a wee, tiny, chilli-soaked bite of that.
I think we really do believe in our brand.
And a lot of people buy into the story behind products and, you know,
we were two stay-at-home mothers and it's not that we were bored,
but we genuinely did believe that we could build something and, you know,
that we want our children to be proud of.
We have three girls each, you know, and we want them to see that,
you know what? You can start something at your kitchen table
and it can grow with determination and perseverance.
And obviously, just you keep talking because if we stay here
for another two hours I should have about 20 burgers by then.
-Keep them coming.
What would your advice be to other, I guess, mums,
that they want to start a business and they reckon
they've got an idea? Because it's scary.
Oh, it's really scary. Well, we started this business,
we invested £1,000 each.
And that's how we started.
Now, that's a significant amount of money but we used it wisely and,
-That's it and we've grown it.
I would advise any mum... One of our straplines is preserving sanity.
That's why we started it, because we really feel like,
do it, do it now, you know? Life's short.
Since those early days of crying by the kitchen table,
their business has really grown and Hollah sauces can now be found
everywhere, from a big-name supermarket in Portstewart
to a luxury delicatessen in London.
-I'm in love with that Bucky Barbecue sauce.
-Good, I'm glad.
And the thing is, there's only three more burgers for me to eat.
Three dozen. Three dozen!
The thing is, Sarah Travers doesn't even need half a one.
I think that's the happiest I've ever seen Stephen Nolan.
I want to taste it. It looks good.
He's eating all their profits.
My wife would be all over that chilli jam with the Prosecco in it.
It's a very difficult market, though, is it not?
In terms of, there's so many sauces.
Yeah, that's what I was going to say.
Like, myself now, I just stick with what I know.
I wouldn't buy it for me personally because I'm very fussy
but the wife would, I know for a fact she would.
I want to see PJ try the hot sauce first.
Just taste it? Right, I'm having a go.
-You go first.
-I'm having a go on the hot sauce.
-Is it hot?
It's so hot. I need a drink.
I've water here.
I was going to have a taste. I'm not going to bother any more.
But it is a big jump from a kitchen cook, you know,
just cooking for your family to thinking,
"I'm good enough that I could make money out of this," do you know?
There's a real entrepreneurial spirit there
and I'd certainly encourage them
and for that reason, would look out to buy these things.
Well, Britons spent seven billion last year on pet pampering.
Sarah's off to Crumlin now to see a man about a cat.
# See these eyes so green
# I can stare for 1,000 years... #
When it comes to being an entrepreneur,
they say there's no such thing as a new idea,
but you can always make an old idea better.
We're off to meet the man who's reimagined the cat flap.
Now, when you see a cat flap, you think, "What's more to invent?"
But Joe Graham from Crumlin
has come up with the Groomiez pet door...
..a cat flap that cleans your cats as they go through it.
Hello, Joe. Lovely to meet you.
What is it that you've come up with?
We spent an awful amount of time removing the hair,
brushing the animals, brushing ourselves,
brushing our furniture, and I thought,
"Would there be a way of doing this
"where our pets do it for themselves?"
So what makes this brilliant? Is it the rubber on the prongs?
The rubber on the brush element is made of TPE.
You've probably seen it on the likes of lint removers
and things like that.
It's easily removed and rinsed so it can be used over and over again.
You've a lot of pets, too. You've got two cats and a dog.
Yes, and a fish.
Right, but the fish doesn't go through here.
-The fish doesn't, no.
-Oh, right, OK.
And neither does Joe's dog...
..but it's still very early stages.
Joe has just completed a prototype in his garage.
Our plans now are to release a version of just the flap
which will work with existing cat flaps
and then we're going to modify
and improve upon the original complete unit.
How much will this cost if somebody was to buy this?
We will be looking at a cost of around about £10.
And that would be for two brush panels.
As a cat owner myself, I really like this idea,
particularly during the summer.
But the Groomiez pet door has a more serious application.
We found that a lot of people unfortunately have to
give their pets up for adoption because they can't deal with
brushing down their furniture
and trying to remove the hairs from there.
It would also help people with allergies and asthma,
things like that, because a lot of the particles that would
irritate that condition would be trapped by this as well.
And how has it changed, you know,
your house and the level of fur that would have been around?
Oh, it's fantastic in the fact that we can now allow our pets to come up
on us without constantly having to brush fur off us.
It is really, really good.
At the Assisi Animal Sanctuary, cat lover Rachel can see
the real practical benefits of Joe's invention.
So, in the main sanctuary we have 32.
In the kitten unit, we have, well, 18,
probably have more than that now.
In isolation, we can have up to 20 plus as well,
so rather than grooming, it would be so convenient
just to have the cats go through the door
and then to groom themselves, it would be fantastic.
So, there's quite a lot on sanctuary.
They usually come to us, the majority of them are strays.
No, you just didn't!
What was that maxim about never working with children or animals?
But Joe has even bigger plans to expand his cat flap beyond cats.
At the moment, the trend in the UK pet industry
is that people are going for smaller dogs,
so the size of this is designed to look after the average cat
and the small dogs.
And do you like being an entrepreneur?
It's exciting, there's no good saying it's not.
It is also very frightening,
but it's something that does help you get up in the morning
and really give the day your everything.
Well, cat lovers would, I think, spend any amount of money
to make life a lot more easier for their cats.
I thought if you're brushing your cat, you kind of enjoy doing that.
I suppose when you think about it, people buy their cats and dogs
Christmas presents and put a wee thing up with the cat's name on it,
dog's name on it, something to give them in the morning.
My ma done it. Fair play on the idea
but I'm not 100% sure it's going to work.
Well, if I was a cat lover,
I might be inclined, but because I'm not a cat person...
That would tear the face off it, would it not?
If you think of the amount of times a cat goes in and out of the door,
it's not going to go through it enough to fully be brushed by that.
You're still going to have to brush it yourself.
Put your head through it!
My head can fit in.
Stephen's off to Dungannon next to meet a very special couple,
a schoolteacher and her young student who have come up with
a business to help people at a very difficult time in their lives.
Almost 2,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year.
This team from St Patrick's College Dungannon have created
a series of books to help the children and their families
to understand what they're going through.
And this was all inspired by teacher Tracy Hughes's niece, Eva,
who lost her life to cancer in December 2015.
We could definitely see there was a big gap in the market for
something to deal with life-threatening illnesses,
especially where there was nothing available on the market
that would deal with such issues in a child-friendly manner.
And it is definitely, like, amazing that there wasn't anything
up until we created this book to help children
that don't yet understand medical terms.
Tracy, tell me about Eva.
Oh, Eva was an exceptional girl.
She is my niece and Eva was diagnosed with
a very rare brain tumour in October 2012 and as such,
she had to undergo some gruelling treatment -
a year of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
and two stem cell transplants in there as well.
And when her hair fell out, I remember well,
it was a Sunday morning and she scratched her head,
just like any normal child does, but when she took away her hand,
that whole hair from this side of her head came with it.
And I made up this story about how boys and girls do have hair
that goes on an adventure, and this was Eva's hair's time to
adventure on its own, and so she actually, ironically,
was very excited.
-And you can remember being told about this, Iveta?
We sort of lived the same experience in the classroom.
I told them the story about the adventures of Eva's hair
that I had told Eva, and they said to me, that's a great story,
a great concept, like. And I said, you know,
I'm going to be JK Rowling, like, I'm going to write this into a book.
And we had a joke about this,
and it was a long-standing joke in my classroom.
The idea, however, became a reality in 2015 when,
as part of the Young Enterprise scheme,
Iveta and her team developed the books,
with the guidance of Mrs Hughes,
to help comfort children suffering from cancer.
One such child is Ross.
He was diagnosed with leukaemia aged four and, along with his parents,
knows first-hand how important these books could prove to be.
It simplifies things.
And obviously, the pictures are good for the children.
These would have really helped me when I was sick, so they would.
Help me understand what they would be for.
I think the one there about Tina's teeth would have helped you.
You had to get five teeth out,
and that was the worst thing in the whole treatment.
Yeah, he didn't understand why they'd taken his teeth out,
and we didn't know what to say to him.
He was on chemotherapy for three years, four months.
You know, looking at it now, looking back and going, yes,
I can remember that, and I remember that happening.
I mean, if that had been on the ward when we were on the ward,
I would have lifted it and I would have read it.
And then I would have, as I went through the journey with Ross,
more things would have been, "Oh, right, that's..."
You know, it would have been relevant to us.
By presenting Eva's experiences in an honest but positive way,
Tracy hopes to keep her niece's memory alive
by helping other children just like her.
So, as a business, where does the profit go?
Where does the money go?
Going forward, we've registered as a company,
and we've also registered Eva's Adventures as a charity,
so we fully intend to have a big face in the community
with charity status.
It seems to me that what you're doing is
taking the fear out of everything.
I wanted a book for Eva that would deal with exactly the issue at hand
but without causing more fear than the situation we were already in.
I can see you're...
I can see you've got a big smile,
-but a little bit of pain in your eyes.
-She was special to you?
-Very much so.
And you're trying to make this business successful
-in part to help other little girls like her?
And boys too, you know.
I mean, our hope...
Oh, I need a minute. Sorry.
It's OK, take your time.
You know, there's no end to what we hope to do.
I mean, we're not stopping at books.
We've got aspirations for from book to screen.
We've got aspirations for animation.
This will be global. It could...
I'm not saying it could be global, it will be global.
Having already won a number of awards for the project,
and with a new book on its way,
the team behind Eva's Adventures have big plans,
and hopefully they really can comfort many of the sick children
who need it most.
That means a lot to children,
and means a lot to everybody dealing with cancer,
because it's just so awful to deal with.
So I think the idea is excellent.
How tough is it to try and talk a kid through something like that?
There's so many things going round your head
that if you were able to just read it
and it was pitched at their level,
and you knew it was going to strike a chord...
Regardless of what it is, if it's well-written
and it's educational, then, yes, it's definitely a good thing.
Some people are very wary of charities.
They're saying, how much goes to the charity and how much goes to
-There's nothing wrong with charities making money
in order to continue the work that they do.
I think it's fair enough to make a career off it
and make money off it.
This was born out of good intentions
rather than maybe a moneymaking idea.
Right, let's look at another invention, shall we?
This time, it's a medical prototype
that could change the lives of millions. Sarah has got more.
OK, Georgia, I'm going to do your wee skin prick test this morning.
You know that you have a wee allergy to nuts and maybe dogs as well.
For millions of adults and children around the world,
like ten-year-old Georgia,
having a skin prick test to see what they're allergic to
is part of their normal life.
What do you feel? Just a wee tiny pinch?
This test has been around for over 50 years
and involves piercing the skin with individual needles to expose
the patient to a mild dose of the allergen.
Some of the most common allergies tested for are foods...
..like nuts, eggs,
..and even fresh fish and shellfish.
But there are also allergens within our environment,
like pollen and animal hair, that can be potentially dangerous.
It's estimated that by 2025,
over half the population of the EU will suffer from allergies.
Well, today, I've come to this gorgeous wood to meet a duo
from Northern Ireland who are going to change the way that allergies
are tested throughout the world.
This is paediatrician Dr Sharon Christie,
and together with a young designer, Philip Douglas,
they've come up with Dotta,
an all-in-one device that helps simplify allergy testing.
Two years ago, Philip came to me and he said,
"I'm doing product design at university, this is my final year,
"is there something that you can think of
"that might benefit patients and would be helpful
"to healthcare professionals?"
So, here we are.
So, talk us through what's actually in this Dotta.
We have small pods that go inside it
that contain all of the stuff that does the test.
So it has the allergen extract in it,
it has the sharp tip that does the prick on your skin.
So, yeah, these go on the device and they get compressed by the top half,
which deposits all the extract on your skin
and does the prick in one go.
The all-in-one nature of Dotta means this device cuts down costs
and, crucially, man hours,
something the NHS and their spiralling waiting lists
could really do with.
How will this make the NHS easier?
So, at the minute, in Northern Ireland,
there is a 6 to 22-month waiting list for a hospital allergy clinic
-appointment across the five trusts.
All skin prick testing is performed in a hospital environment.
And the beauty of this is it's reliable,
it's safe, and we would anticipate that it would allow...
..skin prick testing to move out of that hospital setting
and into the GP environment. It's quite intuitive.
And also, there's a smartphone app with it to help with the reading
and interpretation of the results.
Georgia, you've got a nut allergy,
that's why you're here being tested today.
What is life like for you?
Like, I come out and, like...
My skin goes all crackly.
My lips go purple, but inside I feel, like, tingly.
So, you can see... you can see the welts.
Back at the clinic, Georgia's allergy results
are starting to come through.
That's the baddie.
This new Dotta testing device...
..could change, and possibly improve,
work practices for the better.
But it's slightly positive,
it's not as bad as your peanuts and things, OK?
Obviously, when I'm doing that test,
I'm using different pressure for each bubble that I'm bursting.
I can't make each pressure the same,
the same pressure from a device
would do all the tests at the same time.
Again, I'm doing ten different pricks there.
If you were doing the prick all at the one time,
it would be a lot easier for the child.
Obviously, with the development of Dotta, it would be amazing.
It would be a real step forward
in something which hasn't changed for many years.
Sharon and Philip's device only costs £350.
And yet, the NHS spends about £1 billion a year on allergy services.
So, for Dotta, the future is looking bright.
In terms of patenting this,
where are you at with protecting your design?
So, we have... We have patents pending in both the UK and Europe.
So, how successful do you think this will be?
We are at a very early stage.
I would hope that Dotta would be in use not only across the UK
but across the globe in the next five years.
Yeah, it looks like a no-brainer, doesn't it?
I really like it.
I work with mental health, often our patients would be diabetic and stuff
and doing the prick test for that.
But even knowing what it's like for them to get that one shot at a time,
that's it, over and done with.
-I've had allergy tests done.
If you're not a fan of needles...
Even though you can't see the needle, it's nice that,
if it was just one thing on your arm and you were done,
even just the anxiety would go away.
So many people have so many ailments that are related to allergies now...
-..instead of physiological problems.
-It would maybe be worth exploring.
It's not that expensive, as well...
-350. For a GP's surgery, that...
-But there's so many big players
and big pharmaceutical companies out there that,
if you're not part of that,
it would be so hard to break into that market.
Over the past five weeks, we have visited 20 of the country's
most diverse and innovative entrepreneurs.
From Modius Health, and Rolltack,
No, I don't think I'm going to be picked to play for
-Ireland any time soon.
-..and Sioda Lingerie,
entrepreneurship is big business in Northern Ireland,
and every year the industry recognises the cream of the crop
in a gala awards night held here in the Waterfront.
Some of the people featured in our series
are in the running for awards tonight.
We have the all-in-one buggy cover Blinky...
Do you know, I'm just happy to be here,
and there's such strong competitors, like, just amazing businesses and
I'm delighted to get to the last 12.
..the inflatable life-saving aid, EDDE...
Jamie, as the co-inventor of this product, you must be quite excited,
then, when you're getting such good feedback.
Yeah, we are now. We're actually at the stage now where we're ready
to push this out to the market.
What we said all along, the EDDE is great.
if it can save one life, it's all been worth it.
..and the wearable heat pack, Hug.
I didn't think I would even get this far,
so it's exciting to be here this evening,
but to win would be a whole other level
of me jumping up and down, frankly.
Well, everything crossed.
-Thank you so much.
Our young entrepreneurs are also being celebrated,
like String Sense...
Look, you're all here. Look how well dressed you are.
But where's the guitar? Where is it?
Decided to leave it at home today. We've done enough work on it.
Been a great opportunity for us just get out there and show the benefits
of what it can bring.
..First Aid Locker...
I'm here just having a good time, meeting lots of new people,
try and, you know, network a wee bit.
Make the most of it, like.
..and the Mobile Phone Tidy...
I mean, you've just turned into a local celebrity.
Yeah, I feel like a celebrity.
A woman stopped me on the bus and said,
"I seen you on the BBC last night!"
-And how did that feel?
I can't describe it. I felt so famous.
..all being considered for the prestigious Student Award.
So, this is it, Sarah, then,
a big night for the six people who have got through.
So exciting. I've just caught up with a few of them.
I mean, this whole programme has been incredible.
Yeah, it has. And it's the ambition, isn't it?
Somebody in their teens saying,
"Right, I'm going to design a product, I'm going to create it,
"I'm going to push it, I'm going to try to sell it,"
right through to people who maybe have families,
and they're doing it too.
Will we go in and find out who's going to win?
I believe there's a wee bit of dinner too.
Let's go in.
People from all over Northern Ireland have come together
to clink glasses and celebrate what's great about our wee country.
To me, they're all winners for just getting out there
and making it happen.
But it's time to find out who has won this year's awards.
The overall winner was Phion Therapeutics,
and from the nominees featured in this series
of Made In Northern Ireland, brilliantly,
Hug and the First Aid Locker picked up the top prize
in their respective categories.
We caught up with Fiona and Daniel after they accepted their awards.
Blown away, really, like, it's just completely unexpected.
We came here just hoping to enjoy the night,
make the most of making new contacts, talking to some people,
and really had no idea that we'd be in with a chance of even winning,
really. The competition was so strong.
I didn't expect it, to be fair, but I can't believe it's happened,
and it's going to be such great publicity for Hug.
I'm really proud, and I'm really proud
-that my husband did this for me.
I can't believe we've come to the end of the series.
It's been absolutely fantastic, Stephen.
Yeah, and all of those people who say,
"Are there really enough entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland?"
-You bet there are.
They are coming out of absolutely everywhere,
of all different age groups, and they are making it happen here.
So if you are one of those people and you've got an idea in your head,
well, our experience is, it really is worth trying, right?
Just go for it, and you could be on this programme next time,
right here on Made In Northern Ireland.
Stephen Nolan and Sarah Travers travel around Northern Ireland meeting some of our most innovative entrepreneurs. This week, they check out a new range of table sauces, a self-grooming cat flap, a new prototype for allergy testing and meet a young student and her teacher who have developed a new range of books to help children and parents deal with cancer. They also attend the 2017 Invent Awards, which showcases Northern Ireland's leading entrepreneurs.