My Column

Weight to go, Mark!

  • Date: Wednesday 9th September 2009
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AN OFFICE worker who saw my column last week could now be on his way to becoming a millionaire.
Reader Mark Gilmour, from Motherwell, has invented and patented a new weight-bench design which improves support and enhances performance when doing exercises.
Most weight benches are foam-covered flat surfaces which provide little support and can often cause injuries.

Mark's design addresses this problem by a simple recess where the user's head is placed, allowing the neck to be flat on the bench surface.
I was really impressed with Mark's idea, so I decided to give him a call.
He said: "I've had the patent for three years now but I don't have the know-how, funding or contacts to take the product to market."
After our discussion I put a call into a contact I have at York Fitness, one of the world's leading exercise equipment manufacturers.
General Manager Tom Haynes told me: "I'm really impressed by how simple this concept sounds.
"If the patent and due diligence stack up and we decide to go ahead and do a deal, Mark could become an exceptionally wealthy man."
They are clearly very excited about the product and Mark, 42, has been completely blown away at the progress we've made.

He said: "I thought it was a potentially great idea but you've amazed me. I can't believe I'm working closely with a BBC Dragon and in talks with York Fitness.
"I've made more progress in the past week than I have in three years and I've hardly had a wink of sleep."
And to think that Mark, pictured right with his design and model Mari Brown, only came up with the idea when the bench in his home gym broke and he used a beanbag instead.
He found that it supported his back better and realised that he could develop a better design
I'm really excited about advising him further and monitoring his progress over the next 12 months as he explores opportunities to take his product to market.
Mark is a great example of someone who had a fantastic product and had the guts and determination to believe in his risks.

He has two young sons - Fraser, 11, and Craig, 8 - and this potential deal with York Fitness could change their lives for the better.
These two boys are his world and he told me: "Fraser and Craig are really excited about what's been going on and have been telling all their friends that their dad is being supported by a BBC Dragon and is going to be rich.
"Everything I do is for my two sons and I am determined to make a success of this to secure their future and give them greater opportunities to succeed in life."
Like Mark, we all have Eureka moments every day - it's just about recognising them and having the confidence and determination to be a success.

And you don't have to wait until the credit crunch is over, as by that time someone else will have taken your idea and stolen a march on you.

So let's start thinking outside of the box.
Be fresh, be dynamic, be brave... be an entreprener

 

Time for Scots to mute ITV

SCOTS TV viewers will now have to log on to the net or subscribe to Sky if they want to watch the likes of Wuthering Heights, Midsomer Murders and The Bill.
STV have been in a long-running dispute over how much ITV charges them for its shows - with reports claiming STV pay up to £60,000 per episode.
STV chief exec Rob Woodward has clearly had enough and has decided to buy fewer programmes from ITV and make more for themselves.
He has come under fire for the controversial decision but I think he should be applauded.
Unlike the regional TV stations in England, STV is an independent company with control over what it broadcasts.
This new strategy will save them money and create more work for the wealth of directing and acting talent in Scotland.
However, ITV is still claiming that STV owe them £22million for programme payments.
STV is quite right to flex its muscles towards its English big brother but I'm a bit worried by all this sabre-rattling and the threat of legal action - with speculation ITV may even withdraw popular shows like The X Factor.

This is not the way forward and will only hurt viewers more and fill the pockets of lawyers.
My advice to STV would be to get round the negotiating table as it has a fairly strong hand.
ITV needs money after losing £105m in the first six months of this year alone. These figures don't take into account the £150m it lost on the sale of Friends Reunited to Dundee-based Brightsolid, a genealogy group owned by DC Thomson, the publisher of The Beano.
I'm all for more power to STV's elbow as Scotland should have more of its own quality programmes like Taggart - after all, it was John Baird who invented television and he was born in Helensburgh.
It's now time for Rob Woodward to get his canny Scotsman hat on and negotiate an outstanding deal with ITV.
The Friends Reunited deal, where Brightsolid paid ITV £25m for a £150m ITV asset, has to be the benchmark.

 

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