Entrepreneur Barbara Moakes is lining up a possible appearance on Dragons’ Den after developing a new product that relieves chronic neck pain.
She designed and made a cushioned headboard known as ‘Babsnec’ after suffering problems sitting up in bed to eat, watch TV or read.
Six years on, after being helped by Ashfield and Mansfield District Councils’ Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Barbara, from Kirkby, is now ready to roll her design out across the country.
Babsnec is manufactured in Derbyshire and the 57-year-old administrator at Ashfield School has asthma sufferers, care homes and hospitals among her target market.
“It has been quite a stressful process at times because I have never done anything like this before,” said Barbara.
“There was so much research to be done after I’d made the initial model myself and I have been trying to secure the patent, which I’m hoping to get in September.
“But it’s very exciting now to have got to his stage and, if I get the patent, then I would love to give it a go on Dragons’ Den. Kelly Hoppen is a brilliant designer and I would love to get her input on this.
“I found there was nothing like this on the market, so that’s when I decided to give it a go.”
Barbara remembers the feeling when she sold the first Babsnec unit at London’s Alexandra Palace in October.
She has now set up a website - babsnec.co.uk - and has been promoting her product at trade shows as far afield as Bournemouth.
She added: “When a lady first bought one, I gave her a hug and a kiss! The feeling of someone else wanting to buy something you have made is indescribable.”
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum Barbara attended gives business startups an opportunity to get some much-needed advice and take part in a one-to-one mentoring programme.
“It’s great to hear that someone like Barbara has received the help and support she needs and the forum is an excellent way of connecting like-minded talented people, who have great business ideas and need assistance in bringing them to fruition,” said coun Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for economic regeneration at Mansfield District Council.
Portfolio holder for Prosperity at Ashfield District Council, coun Jim Aspinall added: “I recently met up with Barbara and I am delighted she is able to move forward with an innovative idea.
“Many people have good ideas and sometimes struggle to take their idea to the market. I am very pleased we have been able to assist her and wish her great success with her business.”
For more information on the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, visit www.mansfield.gov.uk/entrepreneursforum or call 01623 463165.