They were all invented in Scotland.
Ross Dickinson is the inventor of the Kibosh which provides a temporary repair for leaking pipes. He had the idea when called out to yet another house that had been flooded because of a burst pipe which had caused a great deal of damage and distress.
The Kibosh is placed around the burst pipe and a tight seal is achieved by locking the handle into place. Having a few Kibosh at home could eliminate plumber call-out charges and they are designed to be used for up to a week until a permanent repair can be made.
After major surgery, Victoria Lee had to live with an open wound for 11 months which required the use of an external bag that collected the output from the wound.
During this time Victoria was dismayed at the lack of dignity that present swimwear offered patients in her situation. She went on to design a unique belt device which can be clipped inside any swimwear to hold the external bag in place. Not content with solving this problem, she went on to design her own range of beachwear and swimwear for men, women and children. Glitter Beach was born.
George McFadden invented VendSense, a motion sensor that is attached to a vending machine's power supply. When the motion sensor has not detected any activity for a specified amount of time, the power to the vending machine is effectively switched off.
VendSense can save up to £281 per year per machine, depending on the type of machine the device is used with. This can also save 1500kg of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted into the environment if the machine had been left on all the time.
The Smartsack by former teacher James Smart is a padded container with storage space that folds over a school chair to provide a child with a place to store the equipment they need on a daily basis.
Calculators, diaries, pens, pencils and workbooks can all be easily stored in the Smartsack, providing quick and convenient access. The padded section becomes a comfortable seat back that encourages a child to sit upright in their chair.
Each inventor knew what a successful solution would be because they each had first-hand experience of the issue their innovation would address.
Victoria Lee's Glitter Beach was born out of a desire for dignity and Ross Dickinson's Kibosh from witnessing the damage that burst pipes can create. These are powerful emotions that the inventors rightly identified would be found in any potential buyer of their product.
School classrooms have the potential for being extremely messy environments as there are 20-30 children, each with multiple items they need to keep a track of during the day. As a teacher, the daily frustrations of keeping this organised led to the invention of the Smartsack that turns a pupil's chair into a storage device.
Through a combination of experience, drive and empathy, each inventor has been able to turn their idea into a successful product.
The future for each product appears secure. Kibosh has entered into a partnership with Rothenberger, a leading plumbing tools and equipment brand that can help Kibosh to reach a global market.
Glitter Beach has successfully diversified into beachware and swimwear for anyone, not just those who would want to buy one of their belts. This is a natural extension of their skills into a bigger market.
VendSense differentiates Automatic Retailing, the company that sells VendSense, from other companies that supply vending machines. Many customers will be interested to learn how to save money (and help the environment) once they commit to having a vending machine in their premises.
Smartsack have built on their initial success to manufacturer the Smartsack Peg for tidying cloakrooms and the Smartsack Scrunch, a high-visibility bag for outdoor and school trip use.
According to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, there were 15,000 new businesses launched in Scotland in 2011, while unemployment in Scotland fell by 12,000 in the three months to February of this year.
This suggests that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Scotland. People want to start a business and turn their idea into a profitable reality.
The four stories above show that success is possible and that future growth is achievable.
If you have an idea for a business, perhaps you would like to apply to enter the Bright Business Idea competition for a chance to win the support and advice of industry leaders to turn your idea into a strong business proposition. Entry is free and you can find more information from the New Start Scotland website.
The four companies above have all been winners in the past. Perhaps you will be too? Drop me a line if you enter the competition. Good luck.