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Funding and opportunities

Our business development team provides support to innovators, start-ups and small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) working in the health and life science sector across the West of England region and beyond.

We work closely with our member organisation to identify local needs and priorities in the healthcare industry. This information, combined with our large network enables us to reach out to companies through open innovation challenge pathways to provide solutions.

Alongside partners, we have received funding from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to create bespoke business support programmes. These programmes are designed to help innovators and SMEs to develop and commercialise innovative products and services that have the potential to improve and transform healthcare.

You can learn more about our regional programmes below:


Domiciliary Care Workforce Challenge

A national call looking for innovative solutions that are ready to adopt and spread to support the domiciliary social and health care workforce in the areas of supply, skills, leadership, new ways of working or new roles

Support offered:There is a maximum of £100,000 (including VAT) available to support the spread and adoption and fund innovator and host activities.

We have not determined how many innovations will be selected. This will depend on the quality of proposals against agreed criteria. This budget will be used to support up to four solutions depending on costs.

Stage of innovation: on the market
Open to: This is a national call to companies who are capable of supplying their product or service on a commercial basis and is not suited to those currently in the research and development stage.
Application process: OInline application form, followed by ‘Dragon’s Den-Style’ virtual selection panel

Application deadline: 31 May 2021, 17:00


Health Innovation Programme 

**Stay tuned for future dates**

Many entrepreneurs find the NHS business landscape difficult to navigate – that’s why we’ve created a training programme specifically addressing the needs of healthcare innovators and covering core skills in entrepreneurship.

Support offered: an intensive, fully-funded, four-day personal development course, our Health Innovation Programme has been running since 2015, delivering high quality coaching, mentoring and personal development support

Stage of innovation: Innovative business propositions that have real potential for health and care. This could be a product or service already in development or simply the germ of an idea but the concept must be realisable into a sustainable business model/proposition and you will need to be genuinely passionate about taking your proposition forward.

Open to: Priority will be given to applicants employed in the West of England AHSN geographical boundaries which covers Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. Applications from Wessex AHSN and South West AHSN geographical boundaries will also be considered.

Since the programme’s inception in 2015, over 100 ‘HIPsters’ have benefited from this specialist support. A recent piece of research by the West of England Academic Health Science Network has shown that these companies have raised over £2.7m in private investment as well creating 17 new jobs as they’ve grown and developed. Feedback on the programme has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s seen as a valuable milestone in founder’s innovation journeys.

But don’t just take our word for it – in our latest blog we hear from one of our innovators, Carey McClellan, about how the West of England AHSN helped him with early ownership of his idea, and what our Health Innovation Programme (HIP) taught him.  You can read it here.

Next programme: 2021 TBC

Application deadline: N/A

If you are interested in applying to be part of the next cohort, keep your eye on our Innovation Exchange for future news. You can also sign up to our newsletter.


Health Tech Accelerator Programme

This programme supports small and medium-sized enterprises in the West of England region develop new products or services for the health and life science sector.

Support offered: mentoring and business support (including planning and strategy, financial advice, market research, IP advice and bid writing); sector specific expertise; networking & academic/ industry collaboration opportunities

Stage of innovation: any
Open to: start-ups and SMEs based in the West of England who are looking to further develop novel products or services for the health and life science sector
Application deadline:
 ongoing


Free learning about Quality Improvement (QI) in healthcare

Explore new and better ways of organising health and social care services to improve quality with this free CPD-certified course.

The next running of Quality Improvement in Healthcare: the Case for Change commences on 18 January 2021. The course will be repeated from 7 June and 13 September 2021. This is a free, six week course (that can be started at any time within six weeks of the course start date), developed and delivered by the West of England AHSN and University of Bath. Join hundreds of healthcare staff from around the world who have benefited from this training.

Stage of innovation: any
Open to: NHS staff in the West of England region
Application deadline:
N/a

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SBRI Healthcare Integrated Care and Social Care Challenge

**Applications are now closed**

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is an NHS England funded initiative led by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) to develop technology solutions for known healthcare challenges.

Support offered: up to £100,000 funding for phase one (feasibility) and up to £1 million for phase two (development) for solutions that match the needs of the NHS

Stage of innovation: ready to launch
Open to: all organisation that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution
Application deadline:
closed


SBRI Healthcare Cardiovascular Challenge

**Applications are now closed**

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is an NHS England funded initiative led by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) to develop technology solutions for known healthcare challenges.

Support offered: up to £100,000 funding for phase one (feasibility) and up to £1 million for phase two (development) for solutions that match the needs of the NHS

Stage of innovation: ready to launch
Open to: all organisation that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution
Application deadline:
closed


Swindon & Wiltshire Health and Life Science Innovation Hub

**Applications are now closed**

The Innovation Hub supports small and medium-sized enterprises in the health and life science sector to bring healthcare innovations to the market.

Support offered: a range of business support opportunities, including mentoring and specialised health sector advice.

Stage of innovation: any
Open to: companies situated in, operating in or planning to relocate to the Swindon or Wiltshire area
Application deadline:
closed


Evidence into Practice Challenge

**This challenge is now closed**

An open call to healthcare professionals in the West of England who have an evidence-based idea for an initiative or project that will improve healthcare. The applicant must have previously implemented the project at least on a small scale.

Support offered: support to enable the development and spread of this great idea across other organisations in the region, and possibly even nationally.

Stage of innovation: proven  in your own organisation
Open to: anyone employed by one of our member organisations
Application deadline: closed


The Future Challenges: Young People and Mental Health Resilience

**This challenge is now closed**

A national call looking for innovative solutions to two priorities:

  • building and promoting resilience
  • early identification

Support offered: £40,000 is available to pilot your solution in one of our healthcare member organisations, plus the opportunity to have the project evaluated.

Stage of innovation: on the market
Open to: companies
Application process: This is a procurement call for products and services already on the market. Briefing documents and the application form will be available on the Bravo Solutions platform.
Application deadline: closed


The Future Challenges: Keeping Healthy at Home

**This challenge is now closed** 

A national call looking for innovative solutions to two priorities:

  • staying well & confident and out of hospital (prevention, citizen focused)
  • staying connected and supported at the right time and right place (self-management, citizen focused)

Support offered: £40,000 is available to pilot your solution in one of our healthcare member organisations, plus the opportunity to have the project evaluated.

Stage of innovation: on the market
Open to: companies
Application process: This is a procurement call for products and services already on the market. Briefing documents and the application form will be available on the Bravo Solutions platform.
Application deadline: closed


Create Open Health

**This call is now closed**

Create Open Health is a call for digital or technology-based solutions, which could be implemented within the NHS and health sector to support the mental well being of young people in the UK.

Support offered: successful applicants will be offered the chance to build on their ideas during an intensive two day development bootcamp and hackathon. We’ll give applicants guidance on financing their idea, and in implementing their idea within the healthcare sector.

Stage of innovation: proof of concept/ concept
Open to: entrepreneurs, people who’ve got lived experience, parents, caregivers, healthcare practitioners, members of the general public
Application deadline: 
closed

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