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Max Harvey, FloodFort

Product Design alumnus Max Harvey develops practical solution to UK’s flooding problem with the support of the LSBU Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme

Having graduated from his BSc (Hons) Product Design degree, Max Harvey was looking to earn a living independently using the skills that he had developed on his course and placement year. He joined LSBU’s Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme to learn more about the process of setting a business up and to help him become more financially independent.

Real-life experience

“I really enjoyed being on the scheme and learnt and experienced the real-life steps needed to take a product to market, from design to manufacture to trade shows to selling to dealing with commercial partners such as Aviva and British Gas,” he says. “The programme helped me become more financially savvy. The experience of taking flood products to market will also help with other products that I intend to design and sell.”

Practical product creation

The flood product Max is referring to is something he created while on his degree. Explaining its inception, Max says “I studied Product Design at LSBU and for my final year project I developed a barrier that prevented flood water from entering building doorways. I was accepted on to the enterprise scheme and set up a company called FloodFort. I developed the product to a fully working prototype and approached companies that may be willing to collaborate at the London Excel Flood Expo Show. I chose to develop the product with a company called FloodKit who had secured £150,000 investment, in exchange for shares in their company. The product has since passed the British Standard test PAS1188-:2014. We have sold the product to local councils and secured orders from Aviva insurance. I'm now in the process of developing more flood products in my own company Floodfort and at the same time collaborating with Floodkit.”

Looking to the future

Max’s aims for the future are to develop a range of products and solutions to UK flooding issues, which will help people protect the homes. Clearly enjoying running his own business, Max says he enjoys the flexibility that being self-employed offers whilst gaining a wide range of design and business skills at the same time.

“The main highlight I’ve experienced so far was the first year of taking the product I developed and placing it at a trade show, which made me really believe I could take products from prototype to market. There is no doubt that I’ve been helped along the way, and at LSBU you have all the support you need and the Enterprise team are enthusiastic about helping your projects come to fruition. They have good industry links and are more than willing to share them. The Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme is important as it helps you develop another skill set in addition to the skills learnt on your course,” he says.