Simply Breathe designs and makes compressed air products. The business was founded in 2012 by two firefighters, Matthew Sygrove and Joe Barratt, who wanted to bring a product to the market that could supply a person oxygen in emergency situations, such as house fires. The business was joined by a technical director, Dr Tony Ryan, in 2016.
As business director Joe explains, “You would give anything for your last breath of air. If someone wakes up to a fire and could have an extra supply of air, this would enable them to either remain in place, to await rescue, or escape from the situation to reach a place of safety.”
Since the its launch, Simply Breathe has grown rapidly and has a number of products on the market including:
Recreational oxygen – for use by athletes and in high-altitude sporting activities
Gas horn – operating at 120 decibels, they alert people to emergency situations and can be heard over industrial noise and other loud environments
Aquarium plant feeder – providing carbon dioxide to plants in aquariums
Air dusters – used to clean hard-to-reach places such as printers and keyboards
At the beginning, the business was fulfilling orders by hand, which was slow and inefficient. “A gas filling line was the obvious solution to our problem of increased demand, but one which was financially beyond our means,” says Joe.
Simply Breathe was introduced to the Product and Process Innovation (PAPI) project in 2017. PAPI provides 40% grants for equipment to enable innovation. Between £8,000-£20,000 of funding is available for projects costing more than £20,000. The company was awarded a £20,000 grant from the PAPI project, which allowed the business to purchase a processing line. This has allowed them to develop new products and increase production.
“It was a massive help that PAPI could provide us with this grant. It came just at the right time as there were orders we would have had to turn down. We did not want to let our customers down and possibly lose future business. Vicky from the PAPI project team helped us to submit our application, we could ring her anytime and we had all the support we needed” says Joe.
Since receiving the grant, Simply Breathe has employed two additional members of staff to meet the demand of its growing business. It has lots of innovative products planned for future release to market, including a pet corrector and a hand-held emergency escape oxygen canister.
“The purchase of the processing line has made an enormous contribution to our business. We can now manufacture everything in our order book and cope with increasing demand that is being brought about by new legislation. The increased efficiency of manufacture means we have more time for innovation and winning new business,” says Joe.
The Product and Process Innovation (PAPI) project, delivered by the University of York, has helped small businesses in York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Leeds City Region develop innovative new products by providing grants for equipment since 2016.
A team of innovation advisers can help companies apply for grants for the purchase of equipment that will create new products, services and jobs. The project has provided more than £2 million of funding, supporting more than 100 businesses to create 130 jobs, and 100 new products. The funding will continue until 2022.
The PAPI Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020.
The project is open for applications now. Businesses can quickly check their eligibility and apply on the website at papi.org.uk or by calling 01904 328076.
The PAPI project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020. The project is open for applications now. Businesses can quickly check their eligibility and apply on the website at papi.org.uk or by calling 01904 328076.