This week we launched our Back in Business campaign to help firms get on their feet again. JOE HARRIGAN speaks to an entrepreneur who has hit on a novel way to grow his business while supporting public health

IT is a well-known adage that necessity is the mother of invention.

And as the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic forced firms to think outside of the box, one entrepreneur from Darwen has sourced a product that is both growing his business while potentially playing its part in protecting public health.

Mike Wilkinson, of Wilkinson’s Mobile Catering, Lower Eccleshill Road, says events of recent months inspired him to market his latest product ­— an ultra-fast hand sanitising machine.

Mr Wilkinson said: “I found the original machines from a supplier in Turkey and I just thought this is miles better than having to use a machine and a pump.

"This supplier company are quite big but they’ve got no marketing in this country, so that’s where I come in. There’s massive potential for this, we’re talking railway stations, schools, tube stations, supermarkets, the possibilities are endless.”

The Clean Hand machine is designed for use in any environment where footfall is particularly high and helps to prevent bottle necks.

It is not the first time Mr Wilkinson has sought to expand from his company's main activity of manufacturing mobile catering units. In April, he introduced a machine to UK markets which could clean supermarket trolleys much faster than normal.

Even in the hardest conditions, he believes new opportunities can be there for the taking for savvy business people. To be featured in our campaign, contact