Jenny Dance, a language school owner from Bristol, graduated from our Healthcare Innovation Programme in 2015. She originally created her app for foreign language students. Course leaders on the Programme saw the potential in Jenny’s app for the NHS, and supported her in developing the concept into the ‘Intelligent Sounds’ speech therapy app, which can be used by people who have suffered strokes or head injuries or have Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.
“While our innovations may have the potential to transform an area of patient care, entrepreneurs need to time it right, speak to the right people and describe the right benefits – otherwise it is likely to fail and not be taken forward as a business case.
“Had the West of England AHSN not offered this training programme, I would have found it impossible to build a convincing business case for my speech therapy app for potential health commissioners.
The Healthcare Innovation Programme is an intensive personal development course covering core skills in entrepreneurship. It is open to healthcare professionals, academics, small businesses and public contributors.
“The network helped us understand who our customers were, how to communicate with them and the thinking they were looking for before making a decision on a product.
“This programme has transformed the way I look at my business, its scope and its prospects. The advice, feedback and networking opportunities provided all exceeded my expectations.
“The Healthcare Innovation Programme really gave our fledgling business the kick-start it needed to turn into a successful, scalable operation.
“The course leaders were knowledgeable, personable and incisive – they delivered three intense and very worthwhile days.”
Healthcare Innovation Programme: the lowdown
Many entrepreneurs find the NHS business landscape complex and difficult to navigate. There are a number of avenues to take when developing an innovative product or service, and the business proposition has to resonate with the appropriate decision makers and influencers within the health service.
We teamed up with the global no. 1 university business incubator SETsquared to deliver a training programme focused on coaching, mentoring and providing support to develop healthcare innovators in the West of England.
We delivered two programmes in 2015 and 2016, providing business support to 38 entrepreneurs, who have all subsequently moved their business proposition forward. Some have made their business case a reality by launching their product, securing investments or widening their key business networks.
The initiative runs across four AHSNs – West of England, South West, Kent Surrey & Sussex, and Wessex. It is a great example of how AHSNs can work together to take advantage of local centres of excellence such as SETsquared.