Kevin Shale has always been focused on sustainability as an entrepreneur. When the young Winnipeg entrepreneur, who is a member of North Forge Technology Exchange, heard about a product out of the U.S. that turns simple tap water into nature’s most powerful sanitizer, he spent about four years securing the Canadian rights and developing the market in this country.
For the past year he was talking with industry about using the device, called the EnozoPRO activated oxygen sanitizing spray bottle, and talking to Canadian industry about its usage. Then the pandemic hit, hand sanitizer was sold out everywhere and everyone wanted to buy one of the US $500 bottles.
He sold right out in days. ‘’Literally the day after the World Health Organization called the COVID-19 Coronavirus a pandemic my phone started ranging off the book.’’ Shale said. His company is expecting another shipment in about three weeks. He has been talking to federal government officials about allowing the distribution of that shipment to be deployed to the most vulnerable. ‘’It’s not about trying to capture all the business now. It’s really all about how can we help’’ he said.
‘’We want the product to go to where the need is the highest, not to who is screaming the loudest just because they are worried, but who is really overloaded.’’
Shale is one of many Winnipeg businesses that have made it known they want to help in the COVID-19 containment effort. For instance, Kerry Stevenson, one of the founders of North Forge’s fabrication lab, and who is an international authority on 3D printing, talked to many people about using that technology to help make medical devices. But Stevenson said they quickly realized the technology is really not suitable for the quality standards for the medical device setting.
Tom Tessier, whose company Solara makes durable wireless communication devices, got a group together to see what could be made. He has put together a proposal to make face shields. Tracy Maconachie, president of Bioscience Association Manitoba, has been talking with Shared Health to see how Manitoba companies might be able to help with the cause.
Shale didn’t realize his business would become part of the effort. When there was an abundance of other sanitizer available on the market, the EnozoPRO was just a safer, better, and more sustainable alternative solution to the status quo.
‘’We had no way to anticipate that our environmental direction would become more of a supply and demand thing.’’ He said.