Essex Business School Alumni's Bright Future
Essex Alumni Michael Ings Leads the LED way
“Everywhere we go is a new business opportunity” says Michael Ings, alumnus of Essex Business School
and co-founder of Finbright, a unique, energy-efficient UK-based lighting company.
Michael graduated in 2010 in the first
cohort from Essex Business School’s Southend campus, with a degree in New Venture Creation and Enterprise
Essex Business School has many links with academic partner institutions - one such link brought a group
of students to Finland, meeting with entrepreneurs and hearing what issues they faced in starting and
running their businesses. During a series of these collaborations, Michael met Boyko Ivanov, from Laurea University, Finland. A year after
graduating, Michael joined up with Boyko and incorporated Finbright Ltd. Their business
plan is very simple – offer a product that will save people money, and “provide our customers with what we would expect
and give the best – every percentage – of ourselves to our customers” says Boyko. And they fully admit “Our partnership
would never have come to fruition if it weren’t for Essex Business School.”
A Bright Idea
Michael was visiting Boyko in Finland and noted how expensive his electricity bill must be to
light his flat all day, every day, especially as he was using standard halogen light bulbs. This got them both thinking
if there was a cheaper alternative – and there was. Their timing is
also perfect, since the market is moving more towards cost-effective, energy-saving and “green” campaigns. The
Finbright LED Pro is a custom-made product, sourced and manufactured specifically for Finbright – the product speaks
The Green Light
Finbright sells custom-made LED light bulbs
that replace normal halogen or fluorescent tube (CFT) light bulbs.>
Some typical facts and figures that are swaying potential customers are:
- LED light bulbs are 93% more energy efficient than traditional halogen bulbs
- Traditional halogen bulbs run at 300 degrees compared to 30 degrees for LEDs
- Halogen lifespan is 2000 hours compared to Finbright’s LED bulbs with 50,000 hours
- Inexpensive, running cooler using minimal power, Finbright’s bulbs are the way forward.
They include a hand-written note in their orders, and personal delivery within a 10 mile radius.
Today, their re-fitting a café in Billericay. Yesterday, they were leafleting local residents. (And the residents who ordered
from Finbright received their orders the same day.) Considering they are doing this all themselves – just the two of them –
it’s fairly impressive. We’re hoping to become
England’s ‘Phillips’” says Boyko. They’re focussing on fully establishing themselves into the UK market, and then expand to
include Finland, and then Sweden. They likened themselves to a “LED steam train” because they’ve identified so many new
products that they want to source next and so many new customers that they’re just steam-rolling ahead.
“It’s the product that’s really done the work” - Micheal Ings, Finbright Ltd.
The Essex Effect
Studying at Essex has “given me new perspective” says Michael. “The staff are fantastic.” Lecturers had real, industry
experience which they brought back to the classroom. Plus, the New Venture Creation degree scheme focussed on getting
students out of the classroom and visiting organisations to apply theory to real world issues.
Check them out on Facebook,
Twitter and their website.
These two are proving that you don’t have to have lots of money and experience to
start a business, just a very bright idea.