Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

Liquid Armour: A Solid Idea

What does a bread-maker, chemicals and bulletproof-Kevlar have in common? Everything, it seems, at least to Hydroflex inventor-entrepreneur Norman Lim.  His invention – a liquid which he concocted in a breadmaker and can be used to treat ballistic fabrics such as Kevlar to make them stronger – is set to make him millions.

According to Sunday Times article “From a chemical spill to a million-dollar dream” dated 21 January 2007, Norman Lim was once a car salesman who gave up his job to pursue his dream. The entrepreneur gave up his job, sold his car and, at one point, had only $4 in the bank, the article said.

“When you don’t have money, people don’t know you anymore. My phone was very quiet,” he was quoted, in an eerie resemblance to an issue which we raised in a recent post “Dare I Take the Plunge?” about fairweather friends.

Mr. Lim shared that his invention was actually a product of an accident. Around October 2005, the self-taught chemist spilt a chemical into a bread-maker he was using to concoct the liquid armour brew, and got “a favourable reaction”.

Previously scoffed at by fund managers and defence agencies for his lack of paper qualifications who rejected his ideas, Mr. Lim’s invention has now attracted the interest of two European defence companies. A local distributor of body armour commented that his product could be worth more than $10 million a year in sales.

Mr. Lim, we salute you for your courage to pursue your dreams.  We reckon you’d find that the friends whom have disappeared during your entrepreneurial journey to suddenly contact you again, but we suspect you already know how to deal with such fairweather friends.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.