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7Billion Ideas run by Ightham brothers David and Chris Harkin with Jenny Harkin and James Warner aims to make business out of ideas

By Nick Lillitos

It is good going if a three-year-old business comes up with 100 good ideas, but a company set up by two brothers from Kent is on the hunt for seven billion.

That is no mean feat, but online venture 7Billion Ideas has notched up a weekly social media following of 32,000 Facebook fans and more than 50,000 Twitter followers in London, Surrey, Malling and the Weald.

The aim of the firm, is to create a platform where people around the world can share their ideas – whether they are students, employees or entrepreneurs.

7Billion Ideas' David Harkin, CEO, brother Chris Harkin, head of design, Jenny Harkin, head of business development and James Warner, financial director

The suggestions posted come in all shapes and sizes, from TV remotes that can put the kettle on to bedroom fans with timers.

Chief executive David Harkin’s latest idea is a personal one – he’s just got married to the company’s head of business development Jenny, 29, in his hometown Ightam.

Mr Harkin, 28, said: “That idea was mine alone and I know it’s a brilliant one. I’m so pleased she said yes.”

The business continues to gain momentum with a busy schools programme – engaging 50 so far – and more than 8,000 ideas posted online to date.

David Harkin and Jenny on their wedding day

The next part of the firm’s strategy is to focus strongly on Maidstone.

It will offer a newly created private idea web feature for those who want to share their ideas on a more confidential basis.

The aim is help with design, technical web services, and alert possible partners.

Mr Harkin said: “Making 7Billion Ideas a reality has been exciting and rewarding. Along the way, the doubters have come in their hundreds but my team has always had belief and courage, always been able to see the long-term vision.

“We’re at the forefront of the ideas generation and with our schools programme we strive to encourage students to think differently about their ideas and their careers.

The 7Billion Ideas team visit schools to get people debating motions

“Everything we do is about inspiring people and entrepreneurs to not only share fun and creative ideas, but to work hard on making them become a reality.”

One idea that’s got Mr Harkin excited, focuses on combating cash machine muggers.

When under threat to extract money from the dispenser, the victim could use an additional pin number – zeroing the account’s balance while calling the police simultaneously.

Mr Harkin added: “The simplest ideas can sometimes be the best. It’s such a fantastic one and it’s being seriously looked at.”

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