Entrepreneur Case Study - Nigel Saunders
Meet the Wales-based entrepreneur who is turning an idea into a global success story.
As CEO of Sure Chill Company, Nigel Saunders has been instrumental in the company’s stunning success, and in developing the technology that powers it – a groundbreaking cooling system that allows fridges to keep cool for weeks at a time without electricity. In less than a decade, Sure Chill has been transformed from an idea in the mind of an inventor, to a company producing vaccine fridges for use across 42 countries – and is recognised for being responsible for saving tens of thousands of children’s lives, especially in sub-Sahara Africa.
Without Nigel’s unwavering entrepreneurial spirit though – and his talent for making things happen – the company would not be where it is today. Indeed, it was this spirit that compelled to Nigel to walk away from a high-profile job at the WRU in 2011 to take the lead on the commercialisation of Sure Chill. Like all true entrepreneurs, he had a clear vision of success – and he was determined to go for it, no matter what the risk.
Looking back, Nigel says more than a few eyebrows were raised when he joined Sure Chill in 2011. “At the time, people thought I was crazy to quit my job to join a technology start-up”, he says. “But you’ve got to firmly believe in what you’re doing, cut through the noise and keep going.” And keep going he did, despite some very challenging times during the early days. “There were just so many doubters out there,” he says. “People said it couldn’t be done – and if it could, why wasn’t someone else already doing it?”
If those years are a far cry from where the company is today, Nigel knows that continued success requires continued innovation. And while Sure Chill has already made huge strides in the health sector, Saunders is now driving growth in other areas.
You’ve got to keep looking at the bigger picture,” he says. “There are other sectors facing similar problems which Sure Chill’s core technology can solve. The single biggest challenge we have is people grasping the scale of what we can do: reaching billions.”
Accordingly, Sure Chill is in the testing phase with the world’s biggest drinks brands; in talks with major airlines, and is working with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to increase efficiency across its grid.
“Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have to try and try again until they find the solution that works. We need to get more people out there trying, allowing us to foster entrepreneurialism in Wales.”