Health Social Innovators, a pioneering accelerator programme for social ventures in health, launched last week with seven exciting ventures. The programme is a collaboration between UCL Business, Healthbox, Numbers for Good, Trafford Housing Trust, and Janssen Healthcare Innovation, with backing from the Cabinet Office’s Social Incubator Fund. Seven social ventures have been carefully selected for the programme by this group of social and healthcare sector organisations, based not only the entrepreneurs’ experience in building innovative healthcare solutions but also their ability to create significant and long-term social impact at the community level across the UK.
Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said: “Our investment in the social economy is helping to create jobs and growth, with the UK now leading the world in this market. Health Social Innovators’, which we supported through our Social Incubator Fund, is primed to support dozens of new social ventures in the health sector which will add to our economy and help solve some of the most difficult social problems.”
Rodger Cairns, Managing Director for Independent Living at Trafford Housing Trust, highlights that:
“Trafford Housing Trust is really excited to be involved in the Health Social Innovators Programme. We believe it is important for housing and health to work closely together to improve the quality of life of our customers. Working with Health Social Innovators gives us the chance to support new and exciting ideas that can really make a difference.”
To support the programme, Cerner, a leading global health information technologies company, is providing Health Social Innovators with an opportunity to work in its Collaboration Centre, London, as well as sharing its healthcare IT market knowledge and experience.
A closer look at the companies chosen for the accelerator shows how the healthcare industry is looking beyond its traditional relationships to identify solutions that both solve complex societal challenges and begin to explore future needs in an ever-evolving health and social sector.
Among the social ventures selected to participate in the first Health Social Innovators programme are:
- Goshawk Communications is developing a software platform that can process an incoming phone or audio signal specific to an individual’s hearing loss or needs over the telecoms / IP infrastructure
- HearToday uses technology to help children with hearing loss get better access to education
- Sensewheel is a lightweight wheel for wheelchair users with embedded technology to measure how the wheelchair is being utilised, thereby gathering data to refine the individual’s rehabilitation programme using movement metrics. It has been designed by the BIG@PAMELA team based within the UCL’s Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering.
- RetVas is medical image analysis technology that screens for diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in both the working age and elderly population and builds upon world-leading and patent protected research from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
- HeLP-Diabetes delivers a web-based self-management programme and structured education for NHS patients with type 2 diabetes. The HeLP-Diabetes team are a multidisciplinary group including Clinicians and Academics headed by Professor Elizabeth Murray from the e-Health Unit, UCL Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health.
- The Listening App allows children with cochlear implants to listen and learn sounds and distinguish between sounds post implant. It is being developed by a team from UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
This is just the beginning for the social ventures selected to participate in Health Social Innovators. The Programme will support these early stage innovations through an accelerator that establishes an enabling environment within which exciting ventures can challenge and learn from each other and scale their reach and impact. Based in a co-working space and with opportunities for our ventures to pilot in the community, Health Social Innovators is seeking to create the building blocks for lasting change in the healthcare industry.