Business

Co Down glamping pod manufacturer opens new factory to tap into UK tourism market

Intupod managing director Peter Farquharson (left) and commercial director David Maxwell (right) show Anna McDonnell, centre manager of the Innovation Factory the first aluminium glamping pod under construction in their new factory
Gareth McKeown

A CO Down manufacturer, which makes high end glamping pods for the tourism market has expanded into new premises, creating 10 jobs.

Intupod has moved into a new 20,000 sq ft factory in Carryduff Business Park as it bids to become a major player in the tourism industry throughout the island of Ireland and Scotland.

Having vastly expanded its aluminium pod manufacturing Intupod has outgrown its home in the Innovation Factory, on the Springfield Road in west Belfast, attracting £1.5 million worth of investment over the past two years, which has re-shaped the company's business model.

The idea for the company came about following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, with Peter Farquharson, founder of Habitat for Humanity in Northern Ireland looking at ways to build monolithic domes using rubble from the earthquake site. When this was not feasible the following year managing director, Mr Farquharson and commercial director, David Maxwell began to look at new uses for their pod design.

Investing £350,000 in research and development they devised the idea of creating Intupod, specialising in building accommodation pods for the British and Irish tourism market, achieving strong sales.

Last year the business model changed and with help from investors, including Cordovan Capital, they have gone into partnership with landowners, further growing the firm's reach and revenue.

“So far, we have engaged with over 40 land owners, with ten projects in the planning process," Mr Farquharson said.

"We expect our first sites to be deployed early next year.”

The Innovation Factory, owned by Belfast City Council and operated by Oxford Innovation, is a flexible, spacious business hub, which aims to provide support for new hi-tech businesses.

The £9.1m business hub was funded by Belfast City Council and Invest NI with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

Customers include a range of start-ups and growing businesses in a variety of sectors including digital services, creative industries, business services, financial services and research and development.

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