The Problem Solver
“Today, they sell into over 80 countries around the world, have six international offices and have filed more than 90 patents.”
Concrete Canvas, members of Chamber Wales (South East, South West and Mid) are the National Winners of the Problem Solver award at the Chamber Business Awards 2023.
Concrete Canvas are the inventors of a completely new class of material. From an idea at university, the two company founders have developed the material technology as well as all of the production machinery.
By leveraging their deep understanding of the material’s capability, and by pivoting over the years to access new markets and applications, they have grown rapidly. In 2014 they were named as the second fastest growing manufacturer in the UK in the Sunday Times, Fast Track 100. Today, they sell into over 80 countries around the world, have six international offices and have filed more than 90 patents.
Since they were established in 2005, the world has seen dramatic changes, with global warming forcing governments and businesses to focus on reducing their environmental impact. At the same time, climate change is fundamentally changing weather patterns, meaning that vital resources such as water are becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world where this is critical for the irrigation of agricultural farmland.
Concrete Canvas has reacted to this changing world in two ways:
- In 2022, they launched a lower-carbon variant of their core product line, which reduces the embodied CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) by over 30%. This provides customers with an alternative to conventional concrete with significantly lower carbon footprint.
- Over the last five years they have developed a new product called CCX, which has been designed to reduce water losses in large irrigation canals. Typically, these canals lose approximately 30% of their water to the ground. CCX will minimise that water loss by completely sealing the walls and floor of the canal.
Other products they have created include:
- CC T-series: This new product line has a fundamentally different cement formulation which has been developed in house over the last six years. The impact on the market has been significant: in the last 12 months, this new variant has completely replaced all of their conventional CC variant.
- CCX: This new product line uses a fundamentally different manufacturing technique, providing them with the ability to make product in much larger volumes (it has four times the output) and in large roll sizes (twice the roll width). CCX products can provide a fully impermeable joint, making them suitable for large canal lining projects in the irrigation sector – a market they were previously unable to access. This market is key to the growth of their business, with irrigation projects typically ten to one hundred times the size of their conventional market. Launched in 2022, CCX is already 25% of their product sales, with an average order size that is ten times that of their pre-existing markets.
The two company founders are engineers, with a passion for innovation and a desire to solve some the big challenges facing humanity. The company aims to nurture a culture where problem-solving and out-of-the-box thinking are part of the everyday.
Their success in developing a completely new material technology which has continued to evolve and expand into new markets and applications demonstrates their place as the winner of the Problem Solver category at this year’s Chamber Business Awards.
On the back of the success of the brewery site and events, Dal then set his sights on expanding both the range of products on offer and the footprint of the business. In December 2021, Dal agreed a 20-year lease on Christchurch Spire in Coventry city centre. The unique venue serves Dhillon’s beers and ales on tap, as well as offering hot drinks and food, to create a family friendly environment.
Dhillon’s next venture was the Sky Blue Tavern, a brand-new sports bar in the city centre, in partnership with Coventry City Football Club. The Tavern is a hub for Sky Blues fans to meet and enjoy a drink, whether on matchdays or non-matchdays, and helps to generate revenue and support for the club. As one of the only dedicated sports bars in Coventry, football and sports fans can watch the latest action on big screens and in individual booths.
Dhillon’s Brewery have now also secured several catering contracts, including with Historic Coventry Trust, where they provide food and beverage operations at the historic Drapers’ Hall, as well as at other Trust locations.
The company’s vision and long-term growth plan continues to be focused on its close association with Coventry whilst securing further locations and contracts, to build a sustainable, profitable business model whilst continuing Dal’s original passion for brewing beautifully crafted beer.
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