Engineering shelter solutions worldwide
Company website: www.extremistechnology.com
Extremis™ is a pioneering UK engineering company which invents and designs low-cost, folding, transitional shelter solutions which can be re-folded and re-deployed with relative ease. The Extremis™ vision is to house displaced people across the globe, but its customers also use its products for different commercial applications – such as worker accommodation and tourism. The company has so far appointed licensees in Nepal, India and Pakistan with active trading in India and Pakistan.
The company has four core shelter designs in its current product set which are actively being manufactured and marketed by its licensees. All of these provide a fast-deployable family home for five people. The HuSh™ range of shelters arrive to site in one piece and unfold in minutes, without the need for skilled labour or tools to erect. Shelters can be deployed to almost any terrain and conventional foundations are not required.
CommonwealthFirst is delighted to be able to support Extremis™ in its mission to provide shelter relief for all those affected by earthquake, hurricanes, floods or war and will be actively looking to make these products more accessible to the Commonwealth countries who most need them.
Apply now to become an Export Champion.
What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
Trusted introductions to potential licensees or end users (as demand from these will bring about a licensee) across the Commonwealth.
How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
We were introduced to John Pemberton-Pigot by or NED, Roy Newey. John suggested we apply for the cohort as he was inspired by our products and business model.
How did the idea for your business come about?
The products were invented in response to seeing millions of people across the globe live for extended period in tented accommodation. Since we have started trading we have also recognised the commercial value of our products, and our licensees bring us new uses for our products on an almost weekly basis, within their territories.
What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Cash flow, everything taking longer than you think, difficulty influencing parties overseas without regular trips.
What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
(1) We always struggle with customs when it comes to the exporting of our demo models. Units get stuck in customs. Our business model is that we outsource manufacturing to overseas territories to largely bypass the need for longer term exporting.
(2) Meeting appropriate licensees via trusted networks/introductions.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
(1) Listen to what customers want.
(2) Not give up in face of adversity
(3) Choose influential partners and expert engineering memberships to grow our brand equity
(4) File patent
What is a typical working day for you?
Skyping India or Pakistan. Working to bring onboard a new licensee. Marketing the company and products. Working with engineering team to bring about product improvements and new inventions as per our customer demand.
Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
Sold to a larger multinational who can grow it further.
What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
Do something you really believe in or are really interested in. Don’t give up. Don’t think that it is glamorous. Starting and growing a business can be one of the most soul destroying things you can do. Celebrate the good times and keep determined and focussed through the bad. Be cautiously optimistic, but aware that people will let you down and that not everyone is as brave as you or as willing as you to believe in the outcome! Your influencing skills will be vital so practice them often.