Be Your Own Boss winner Ash Reza, from Loughborough, gets Sir Richard Branson's backing
An entrepreneur has won a £65,000 investment in his idea to revolutionise bottle time for babies after a star turn on TV's latest reality business show.
Ash Reza, from Loughborough, emerged triumphant from episode four of BBC Three's Be Your Own Boss.
The 25-year-old was up against 500 rivals in presenter Richard Reed's search for the next generation of British entrepreneurs.
Eighteen made the TV series, with Ash one of six to receive a life-changing investment.
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His concept is Myyfeed, an all-in-one baby bottle mixing formula feed for parents on the move, without the need for a separate flask of hot water, milk powder tub and feeding bottle.
The idea came to him last year when his sister Sami became a mum.
"She was preparing a feed for the baby and spilt hot water on herself," said Ash. "That's when my idea was born."
Myyfeed stores a measured amount of hot water and formula milk powder separately. Then, when activated by a button, it mixes the hot water with the powder, with the parent attaching a teat to the device to transform it into a baby feeding bottle.
Ash came to the programme armed with only a prototype bottle and minimum market research in which 88 out of 108 parents he had approached approved of the idea.
Richard Reed, the co-founder of hit drinks and food brand Innocent Smoothies, was inspired enough to invest an initial £3,000 on developing the product.
Then filmmakers followed Ash's progress towards the show's climax.
The highlight of the programme, however, was the endorsement of Ash's product by British business magnate Sir Richard Branson during a surprise meeting in London.
After witnessing a demonstration of Ash's product, the Virgin Group boss said: "That's bloody brilliant, it's a lovely idea" – before ordering six bottles for his six grandchildren.
Mr Branson said: "The most important thing in business is to fill a gap in the market and I think there's a massive gap in the market for this – every single mother with babies will want one of those."
After the meeting, a shell-shocked Ash said: "That was amazing. Richard Branson liked my product and wants to order six. I can't believe it."
Ash also made a successful pitch to baby accessory company Mamas & Papas, making him the favourite to win Richard Reed's backing.
But it was not until the final scene when the multi-millionaire put his cards on the table.
"You have to believe in a product – and the person," he said, pausing before adding: "In this case, I believe in both and am going to invest."
Ash, who has now given up his job as a quantity surveyor to concentrate on developing Myyfeed and who, on the back of the programme has orders from John Lewis and Boots, said: "I'm so happy. I'm going to make this work.
"All the months of hard work and waiting has finally paid off.
"I think the turning point was my meeting with Sir Richard. He's a hero to all entrepreneurs and for him to endorse my product was the moment."
Sister Sami said: "This thing about my brother is he's a problem solver and there are so many more things out there that he can achieve."
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