Home > News & Events > February 2008 > News Article

Celebs Go Potty Over New Invention

Published: 28th February 2008

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Maree Macey from Poteez, Jonathan Dixon, Deputy Chief Executive at South Yorkshire Investment Fund, David Macey from Poteez and Colin Glass, partner in Winburn Glass Norfolk.

Celebrity endorsements and television appearances are just the start for one Yorkshire couple’s new invention.

Husband and wife team David and Maree Macey from Wetherby has developed a flat-pack, environmentally friendly, disposable cardboard potty which is set to be launched onto the High Street.

The pair have set-up Poteez Ltd after receiving national acclaim with endorsements from stars such as Richard Hammond, Angela Griffin, Mel Giedroyc and Ruth Badger. Their innovative potty has also featured on the ITV show ‘Mothers of Invention’ and Sky One’s 'The Big Idea.'

After more than two years of producing a prototype and pitching the idea to investors, Poteez is soon to become a household name.

The company is opening a base in South Yorkshire after receiving an initial Seedcorn loan of £50,000 from South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF) to help launch the product, which is believed to be the first of its kind.

An additional SYIF investment of £70,000 is intended over the next few years to assist with further stages of the product’s development.

David Macey, co-founder of Poteez, said: "My wife and I were discussing the potty training of our daughter and whose turn it was to clean the potty!

"At the time we were working in the packaging industry and we knew a solution could be found. We looked at how popular disposable nappies were and came up with the idea.

"It has progressed into a business and become an advanced product using recycled cardboard. It can be easily stored for quick use, is fully bio-degradable and can therefore be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

"We hold the UK patent which covers any form of paper based potty which is folded to construct a rigid watertight receptacle. There are also plans in place to extend this for adult use in hospitals and old people homes."

The Poteez story is even more remarkable when taking into account Maree's illness.

David says: "Maree was born with a rare muscle and bone disease. At birth her parents were told she would never walk and that she would never be able to have children.

"Now at the age of 31 she is not only able to walk and care for her daughter, but she is also a successful career woman running her own business. Maree was short-listed for the British Female Inventor of the Year award 2007."

SYIF has also helped Poteez with funding towards the cost of mentor Owen McCabe, a business and marketing specialist to assist the company in their first year of trading.

Jonathan Dixon, Deputy Chief Executive at South Yorkshire Investment Fund, said: "The product is a fantastic invention which looks set to provide a new solution to an old problem. It’s also a great opportunity for branding and advertising partnerships with children’s cartoon characters. The mother and baby industry is big business, with the nappy market alone worth an estimated £2billion a year."

Colin Glass, partner in Winburn Glass Norfolk, a Leeds-based firm of Chartered Accountants, helped with the preparation of the Business Plan and the presentation to the Fund.

Colin was named the Business Adviser of the Year at the Institute of Directors awards 2007.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund can provide seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

For more information on how South Yorkshire Investment Fund can help your business please visit www.syif.com or call 01709 386 377.

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).