? Healthcare fund to provide organisations with up to £50,000 to cultivate innovation in the West Midlands

West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has opened the applications for its 2020 Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Health Innovation Fund. The fund was developed in partnership with MidTECH Innovations and Mercia Asset Management (MAM), to support start-up businesses in the healthcare sector from across the region.

Applicants have the opportunity to be awarded convertible loans of up to £50,000 as well as access to future investment capital, invaluable mentoring workshops from industry experts and access to a network of key contacts within the NHS and healthcare sectors to support the development of their ideas.

The fund, which is being led by Peter Dines, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Life Sciences at Mercia, is open to applications from SMEs who are currently collaborating with a West Midlands based NHS organisation.

Move it or Lose it, an organisation which provides FABS (flexibility, aerobic, balance and strength) exercise classes to older adults and those with long term health conditions, was awarded the loan in 2017.

The number of over 65s in the UK is steadily increasing and will likely form a quarter of the population by 2037. With the average person now spending approximately 16 of their later years in poor health, finding viable solutions to improve health and wellbeing in later life will also help lessen the burden on our healthcare providers.

Move it or Lose it received funding to develop technology and routes to market to help educate and enable older adults to take control and monitor their own activity levels, thereby reducing demand for clinical services.

Joe Robinson, Director of Research and Innovation at Move it or Lose it said: “The fund has helped provide us with the capital needed to increase our service offer, which otherwise would not have been possible. Through this scheme the company has been able to grow and reach more older people helping them live healthier, happier and more active lives.”

Tammy Holmes, Head of Innovation Exchange at WMAHSN said: “We are thrilled to announce the return of the SME Innovation Fund and be in the position to support businesses dedicated to transforming healthcare landscape of the West Midlands.

“To date, the scheme has successfully supported over ten SMEs, helping them bring their ideas to life and spark great collaboration between innovators and NHS organisations.

“We can’t wait to see what innovations organisations in the West Midlands have to offer and work together to help make sure our region is healthier, more productive and delivering the best possible clinical outcomes for patients.”

For more information around the SME Innovation Fund application process and requirements or to submit an application, please visit: https://meridian.wmahsn.org