Updated: Nov 10, 2020
“The support from Business Wales AGP has been excellent”
Amputee producing accessories for prosthetics reveals company’s ambitions
In our new blog series, we talk to the businesses we work with to find out more about their journey, ambitions and top tips for business success.
The latest business we look at is Limb-Art. Limb Art is a Denbighshire based start-up venture established by Mark Williams. Mark is a leg amputee, a silver and bronze medal-winning Paralympian for swimming and is also a former world record holder. While prosthesis has developed massively in the last decade, aesthetics have often been overlooked. Limb-Art aims to change that, producing prosthetic accessories which are lightweight, durable and look fantastic.
Here, Mark Williams shares what he's learned on his business journey so far and about how being part of the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) has helped his business.
The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Tell us about Limb Art
For amputees, revealing their prosthetic limb(s) is now much less taboo thanks to the Paralympics and Invictus Games. Amputees want to feel more on-trend and make a statement. Our covers mean they can cover the unattractive pylon with an attractive cover.
There only one company in the world who currently makes such covers – this is Alleles based in Canada, which manufactures the leg covers individually using a 3D printer, making them extremely expensive.
Limb-Art worked with Design Reality to design the cover and to find the most cost-effective way of manufacturing, using a material that won't break easily. Limb Art is targeting private consumers (via a web-based platform) rather than the medical industry.
We now have the 3D printed product available and we’ve already had our first export order, to the USA.
What are your proudest moments in business so far?
We are proud of the journey we have made so far. I regularly give talks at schools and to young people in north Wales. I have also appeared on S4C to talk about myself and the company. Not only has this helped raise the profile of the company, but we hope we can be an inspiration to others.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
We might have explored a different option to the 3D printed one. We’re in discussions with A2B Plastics in Colwyn Bay to possibly make the product by injection moulding rather than the much more expensive 3D printed option. Watch this space!
How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
We didn’t know what to expect, but the support from Business Wales AGP and the quality of service we’ve received has been excellent.
What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?
Don’t give up. If you have a great idea, try and make it work. There will be plenty of hurdles and pitfalls, but good ideas can overcome those barriers.
Have a plan. Without one you’ll be lost. Your business needs a target and a path which you want it to follow.
Know what you’re good and what you’re NOT good at – and get help! There is plenty of support out there from services such as Business Wales AGP. They have a reservoir of resources and expertise and can help your business develop, especially in its early stages.
Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll need it when times get tough… because tough they will get. This links back to the point about not giving up on your idea when those tough times come around.
And finally: Surround yourself with people who are radiators (they give you energy). Avoid people who are drains (they suck the life from you).