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10.12.04
Finance Cornwall helps new company plant seeds of success

Jeff Lenihan (left) of Finance Cornwall and Derek Stride (right) demonstrate the Magic SeederGreen fingered gardeners can look forward to getting their hands on a revolutionary labour and time saving gadget now available in the UK thanks to a newly started business supported by investment from Finance Cornwall.

For the past two years the Magic Seeder has only been available through mail order in the United States. With limited marketing it has remained one of America's best kept horticultural trade secrets, becoming a gardener's best friend through its ability to individually sow many sizes of seeds at the touch of a button.

The handheld device was discovered by a Cornish nurseryman trawling the internet to find a solution to his problem of mass sowing very small seeds quickly and with minimum wastage.

After trying out the new product, Derek Stride of West Country Nurseries in Launceston soon realised the potential for the product for use by commercial and leisure gardeners alike and set about obtaining the rights to import and sell the product in the UK.

With the help of a £15,000 investment package supported by Truro-based business finance company Finance Cornwall, Derek has set up The Magic Seeder Company. He has purchased the rights to sell the product in the UK and Europe and commissioned new packaging and a website, just in time for the product to reach the market in time for the Christmas rush.

The product has already started to impress the local horticultural industry, with the Magic Seeder winning the title of 'Best new retail product' at this year's South West Regional Growers Show at Exeter in October.

Since the show Mr Stride has been talking to a number of local, regional and national nurseries about stocking the product so that gardeners can expect to see it on the shelves, retailing for around £7, in the next few months.

Derek Stride described why he set up the new company: "After trying out the Magic Seeder to improve the productivity of my nursery, I was amazed at the speed of sowing and ease of use of the little gadget. Convinced that the product could be a massive hit over here with commercial and leisure gardeners alike, I set about starting up a new company to buy the rights to sell the Magic Seeder in the UK and Europe.

"Finance Cornwall were introduced to me by John Coles, my business mentor at Enterprise Tamar, and were able to provide the necessary finance towards my investment package to get the new business up and running in a relatively short timescale. Without their help it simply would not have been possible to launch the Magic Seeder onto the UK market for at least another year."

Finance Cornwall Fund Manager, Jeff Lenihan, said: "The Magic Seeder is a great product and I'm convinced that Derek's horticultural industry background will stand him in good stead to make a success of selling the product in the UK and Europe.

"Providing investment to get new businesses off the ground is something Finance Cornwall specialises in and we look forward to seeding a The Magic Seeder Company soon grow into a thriving business."

Finance Cornwall has invested a total of £2.14 million in 44 Cornish businesses, helping to attract an additional £10.38 million of investment from the private and public sector.

The Magic Seeder can be ordered directly from the company on 01566 782064 and will soon be available for ordering online at www.magicseeder.co.uk.

For more information visit www.financecornwall.co.uk or contact Jason Clark, Deborah Clark & Associates, Tel 01872 276276.

Finance Cornwall is a gateway fund for Objective One investment from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

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Editor's notes:

Finance Cornwall background

Finance Cornwall is a £20 million investment fund backed by £9 million from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund.

The Magic Seeder is a small hand held device that works on principle of a spring loaded syringe. Simply pour in the seeds from the top of the device and press down the button in the lid to force down the plunger inside, dispensing one seed at a time.

Perfect for sowing multiple trays quickly the Magic Seeder can sow a 160 cell plug-tray in a minute and is also an excellent aid for gardeners who struggle with handling small seeds.

For more information contact

Jason Clark
Deborah Clark & Associates Ltd
01872 276276
07980 834368

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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