04/10/10

By Claire West

The entrepreneur behind the world’s first non bio laundry detergent designed to kill 99.99 per cent of superbugs will appear on Dragons Den Revisited this week.

Paul Ward, a director of Skelmersdale-based Paragon PE, first appeared in the Den in August last year asking for £100,000 in return for a stake of five per cent.

James Caan offered the money but for a stake of 30 per cent — something Paul turned down without hesitation.
Since the show, Paragon PE has exceeded its financial targets — something no other business to turn down a Dragon has achieved.

In the Dragons Den Revisited programme this week, viewers will see Paul Ward come face to face again with Caan.
The airing of the programme coincides with the national retail launch of two Paragon laundry detergents — Halo and Halo Proactive Sports Wash.

Halo is the first of a new breed of washing detergents designed to work at low temperatures and scientifically proven to destroy hospital superbugs including MRSA and C.Difficile. It is also effective against Listeria, Salmonella, E.Coli, H1N1, Norovirus and fungus.

Halo is the only retail laundry liquid in the world to contain Hygienilac which has a kill rate of 99.99 per cent of the bacteria which most commonly cause food poisoning. This means it can thoroughy clean your clothes and all the bacteria trapped in the weave of the fabric — allowing clothing to breathe.

It even continues to work after drying by leaving behind active agents in the clothing — for added protection.
Halo is British Standards Approved and has been tested by indepedent laboratories and UK laundry technology centres.
It is already generating a cult following particularly in the NHS where there has been an increase in superbugs in the past few years.

Paul Ward left school at 16 intent on going into the Parachute Regiment. When there were no places available, he went into the Royal Army Medical Corps, leaving in 1990 to work in the chemicals industry.

During the next 14 years, Paul combined full-time work with six years at night school studying chemistry and IT before launching his own company in 2004.

The breakthrough for the business was the signing of a deal with South Wales’ detergent manufacturer Eastern Valley Chemicals three years ago which has now led to the launch of the Halo products for the consumer retail market.

Ward, 42 and married with a one-year-old child, has remortgaged his home twice and together with his business partner Kath Brownless has spent more than £250,000 bringing the products to market.

The Halo products hit the shelves in Wilkinsons in mid October and Ward is currently talking to a number of other major retailers about further listings.

The company has also just launched an ecommerce website — www.germwarfare.co.uk — which will enable people to buy the Halo products and other Paragon PE products online. The company plans to roll out similar ecommerce sites with its website partner Ph Creative to countries across Europe.
Paragon’s turnover in 2008 was £449,000, while last year it increased to £1.4million. Turnover is expected to exceed £2million next year.

Ward, who lives in Widnes, said: “It will be fantastic to finally see our products on shelves and people buying them after so much hard work and sacrifice during the past six years.

“It was a terrific experience to appear on Dragons Den and now Dragons Den Revisited and even more satisfying to discover that we are the only company to turn down a Dragon and go on to exceed our financial targets.

“I like to think that I have applied a lot of what I learnt in the Army — punctuality, hard work, good time management and, most importantly of all, honesty — in my business life and that this ethos has helped get me and Paragon PE to where it is today.

“It’s an exciting time for us and, in many ways, the journey is only really beginning now that we are about to break into the UK retail market.”