Healthcare entrepreneurs pitch ideas for life-saving innovations

Innovators gather in Exeter to put their inventions to the test

Potential new healthcare innovations were showcased at a four-day workshop in Exeter

Healthcare entrepreneurs from the south west of England gathered at Exeter Racecourse to take part in a four-day workshop designed to give their tech innovations a comprehensive health check before they are launched to the market.

The South West Health Innovation Programme (HIP) is a business support programme delivered by SETsquared in partnership with the South West Academic Health Science Network.

The course, now into its fourth year, offers entrepreneurs vital advice and support to give their innovations the best-possible chance of success and enable them to benefit lives, and the NHS, faster.

With the help of healthcare experts and successful entrepreneurs, delegates got to develop their business ideas, analyse their target markets, and come up with a viable funding strategy.

And the final day culminated with the participants pitching their business propositions to an experienced panel of business experts, reminiscent of Dragons’ Den.

Coming up with a business idea you are passionate about is key. However, that same passion can sometimes prevent you from seeing the bigger picture

William Lilley, partnership director of South West Academic Science Network, said: “Coming up with a business idea you are passionate about is key. However, that same passion can sometimes prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.

“This programme offers healthcare entrepreneurs a sounding board to stress test their ideas and think about every aspect of what’s needed to launch a successful business.”

The ideas presented to the panel this year included a website linking customers looking for care at home with providers; a range of touch-based textile sensors for use in healthcare applications; a workplace engagement programme that encourages healthy living; solutions for insomnia and other sleep-related problems based on behavioural sleep medicine; and an app to encourage emotional wellbeing in young people.

Fin Williams, founder of CYP-AccEPT, which is run out of the University of Exeter, was at the event. He said: “These four days have helped me to move our idea from an idea to a start-up.

“The opportunity to explore and interrogate the market opportunity and business model, with expert support from the organisers, means we are now in a position to take our start-up to the next funding stages and support young people with access to emotional wellbeing support, sooner."

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