Garry Broe came up with the idea for his business when he tried to return his wife’s crutches to her hospital after a hip operation. “They wouldn’t take them,” he says.
Shocked to realise that thousands of crutches, walking frames and wheelchairs go to landfill each month, in early 2016 Garry Broe launched a business to sterilise and resell them to hospitals at a 50% discount. So, what were the hurdles he discovered on his way to success?
“The hardest part was landing the contract with the HSE, which took me three years. Now, though, instead of going to landfill, we will receive more than 10,000 pairs of crutches, 3,000 walking frames and 500 wheelchairs a month from hospitals and nursing homes around the country. The only support I got to get this far was a €7,500 priming grant from Dublin City LEO. I’m also going to get an employment grant of €7,500 for each of the ten employees I intend to take on straight away, to a limit of €80,000. It’s not much in the scheme of things, but when you’re starting out, every little helps.
“I have investors lined up which will look after the purchasing of equipment and premises. The only issue with investors is that you have to give up a significant chunk of equity, but that’s what I’ve got to do. Once it’s up and running here, we’ll start into the UK. That’s the plan.”