UK: Welsh company wins development award for glass bath

A luxury glass bath was among projects to benefit from the latest round of Smart awards from the Welsh Development Agency, presented at the Celtic Manor in Newport, South Wales on 18 March 2003.
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A luxury glass bath was among projects to benefit from the latest round of Smart awards from the Welsh Development Agency, presented at the Celtic Manor in Newport, South Wales on 18 March 2003. Smart is a biannual competition which offers individuals and small to medium-sized companies financial support for research and feasibility studies to develop their innovative projects. Thirteen projects of diverse sizes and from a number of business sectors received financial awards totally to GBP 580,000, all having demonstrated their commercial potential. Virginia Chambers, executive director of innovation and technology at the WDA, said, “We are always aware of the large number of businesses in Wales with exciting and innovative projects.” “Innovation – the successful exploitation of new ideas – is widely viewed as a key influence on the competitiveness of companies and the prosperity of a region. The aim of these awards is to provide the successful companies with the financial backing which can be so crucial to the development of a new product.” The glass bath is being developed by Gwynedd-based Igloo, which manufactures glass basins, screens and tiles. Its new bath is made from a single piece of clear glass, with textured or sandblasted finishes. The six-year-old company has recently relocated in order to make space for the new kiln required to produce the bath, which will probably sell for GBP 5,000 – GBP 10,000. The Smart scheme is open to individuals or businesses in Wales with fewer than 50 employees and either an annual turnover not exceeding GBP 4.6m or a balance sheet total not exceeding GBP 3.3m. On offer are grants for 75% of project costs up to a maximum of GBP 45,000. The scheme is under review by the Welsh Development Agency, which has been responsible for administering and promoting the Smart Wales schemes since April 2002. It has been decided that the very last competition round will take place in spring 2003, with a closing date of 31 March. A new scheme will be launched in August 2003.