Unilever hopes to spark customer ideas

Unilever is inviting consumers to offer new fabric care product ideas to the company in return for an injection of funding.

The initiative, called Unispark, has been launched by Unilever’s European Fabrics business, as a joint venture with venture capitalists Vesta Group.

Unilever’s fabric care brands include Persil, Comfort and Surf.

Unilever hopes to encourage entrepreneurs to share ideas and technologies for cleaning or caring for clothes and fabric.

Unispark will be headed by the director of innovation and new business for Unilever’s European laundry business, Nick Basing.

His team has been responsible for the roll-out of laundry tablets, Comfort Easy Iron and the recently launched Persil laundry capsules.

Basing says: “The new venture is about broadening our network. It’s designed to attract ideas and investment opportunities from entrepreneurs, scientists, or teams of people interested in innovations in fabric care. We welcome ideas in other categories besides fabric.”

Unispark will provide tools to facilitate the development of ideas, delivered through its website, unispark.com, in conjunction with special events and seminars.

Rival Procter & Gamble (P&G) already has a Help Us Create link to its website, which also allows consumers to send in ideas for new products.

Basing says Unispark is different to the P&G offering, and is a stand-alone venture designed to continue the flow of innovative products.

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