NEW GLASGOW - An environmentally friendly drain cleaner has earned a local company first place honors.
Water Drills International, owned by Jim Proudfoot and Lynn Christie, have been awarded first spot in for Cumberland, Colchester, Antigonish and Guysborough counties in the 1-3 Technology Start-up Competition.
The company received $100,000 prize of combined cash and in-kind services from firms within its zone and will now move on Wednesday to compete against winners across the province for another $100,000 prize.
"My partner Lynn Christie invented it. She had talked about it a number of years ago and I thought it could be something that could be promoted and we finally got to do something about it."
He said they revisited the issue again about five years ago and he eventually got the opportunity to present it to Home Hardware which was very receptive about the product. It currently retails at Home Hardware stores across Canada for $14.99.
The product is made of a long tube with a jet nozzle that breaks up clogs in drains, he said. The nozzle can be placed next to a person's hand and it won't have any effect, but it will destroy a bar of soap in a short period of time.
He said the product makes drain maintenance easy, preventing costly repairs down the road. Instead of just putting up with slow draining sinks, homeowners can now easily maintain free flowing drains in all fixtures.
"Up until now sloppy plungers, difficult wire snakes and harsh, dangerous caustic chemicals have been the standard household remedies for clogs and are usually only a partial solution leaving a majority of the clog behind," says Jim, who has many years of experience in the home improvement industry. "Unlike a plumber's snake which merely pokes a hole in the blockage as an emergency fix, The Water DrillsTM Tool breaks it down and removes all the debris from within the pipe."
Christie said the concept originated from years of research and development in high pressure waterjet technology.
"My late husband, David, was a design engineer who developed and manufactured high pressure water cutters for industry," she said. "Water cutters can be found in industry in both Canada and the United States. With years of experience working by his side, I came up with the idea that there must be a way to shrink down the technology by using everyday household water pressure to develop a tool for homeowners."
The zone winners were selected through two rounds of competition. In the second round, the finalists submitted detailed business plans and gave oral pitches of their start-up businesses to the judges. Finalists were evaluated on business plan credibility, management experience, barriers to competitive entry, size of addressable market and the probability of obtaining a fully funded business plan.
"Winning this competition is an awesome boost to our business plan!" said Christie, She said that her company's focus in 2012 is to expand distribution of the product as quickly as possible in both Canada and the United States.