Alistair Smit, age 40, spent 10 years in structured finance at two global investment banks. A frustrated Entrepreneur with a passion for the environment, Alistair decided to take a serious plunge into the world of self-employment in 2012.
During his investment banking career, the energy-conscious businessman researched the renewable energy industry and happened across an exciting business opportunity that would satiate his hunger for enterprise as well as his ‘green’ conscience. The ex-Investment Banker ‘took a punt’ that the UK would follow the German model on PV – and so it did!
Alistair founded The Magic Thermodynamic BoxCompany in November 2012 from offices based in a listed building in Chelmsford, Essex. “I wanted to develop products that challenge convention. My aim was to convert the marketplace one person at a time,” said Alistair. “I had become disillusioned with global financial markets. I wanted to solve problems that come from fossil fuel dependence through innovation and design”.
The company was founded to provide the UK with green, environmentally friendly products, to resist climate change and help homeowners reduce utility bills.The products use wind, rain or sun to convert a refrigerant liquid into gas, which, it’s claimed can save homeowners up to 80% on their fuel bills.
The Magic Thermodynamic Box Ltd now specialises in the manufacture and distribution of quality innovative renewable energy products to businesses nationally and internationally.
Alistair has focused on producing two main products, which are manufactured and distributed in the UK:
- The Little Magic Thermodynamic Box (now known as the Solar Assisted Heating Pump)
- The Central Heating Management System
The Solar Assisted Heating Pump/Little Magic Thermodynamic Box is a retro fit box (about the size of a waste paper bin) that connects to an existing cylinder and makes use of Thermodynamics to heat sanitary hot water very efficiently day and night 365 days a year.
The Central Heating Management System has been installed in thousands of homes across the UK. The productwill suit any domestic heating system with radiators and a boiler. The product itself cures all typical central heating ailments, enables domestic boilers to function more efficiently and provides a reduction on central heating bills.
“My company now consists of a dynamic team primarily made up of engineers and inventors. We start with a problem, work out how to make it work better and then engineer it in the UK for the UK and the rest of the world. Our mission is simple. Our current products are the result of hundreds of prototypes, much testing and many man-hours of perseverance and determination. It’s a world away from finance. Finance can be stifled by regulations procedures that must been complied with. We are inventors and innovators in every sense of the words.”
Renewable Energy is a niche and the team of experienced entrepreneurs is gaining a high profile in the British renewable energy manufacturing sector. British Gas has already approached them for product demonstrations. Alistair has been featured on Channel 4, BBC radio and national newspapers.
Last year, Alistair and his team were recognised by the National Business Awards.
Alistair reached the final five businessmen and women in line for the Duke of York ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. “To be short-listed to win such a prestigious award in such a short trading time is quite an achievement”.
As a finalist, Alistair joined five other entrepreneurs that delivered a live pitch in front of an audience and panel of judges to set out the aims and achievements of the Essex firm.
“We decided that we wanted to empower homeowners so they can personally contribute toward protecting the environment, improving their standard of living and dealing with these costs,”
The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, established the new category of ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the National Business Awards as part of his work promoting the UK’s young entrepreneurs. “If we’re going to employ people we’re going to have to be more entrepreneurial. We’re going to have to find ways of encouraging young people or people who are in businesses, who see a niche in the market, to get out there and start their own business”, he said, addressing the finalists.
As a finalist Alistair and his team now has access to products and services to grow their business, which are provided by the awards’ supporter Vonage, a leading provider of internet telephony for small businesses.
Simon Burckhardt, managing director of Vonage UK, said: “Entrepreneurs like Alistair Smit of The Magic Thermodynamic Box Company are the backbone of this economy.
“They, along with the other finalists, are an example of the innovation, creativity and passion that exists in the UK business community. While we may have selected five finalists, the competition was tough, not unlike the current business environment.”
In terms of further developing the business, the company is looking for re-sellers and with a high profile presence at Ecobuild 2015 expects interest in the products to be paramount.