An accelerator launched at VentureFest North East in November to tackle the challenges faced by an ageing society has selected the first nine companies to go through the programme.
Tackling issues as varied as Alzheimer’s and dementia to holistic care and symptom management, the companies will be among the first to move into The Biosphere. They will spend the next 6 months working out of this specialist facility, that is tailored to the commercialisation of life sciences and innovation, research and development.
The programme which is being delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork in partnership with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University (NICA), Newcastle City Council, Northstar Ventures and Aging2.0, worked with accelerator hopefuls to understand the breadth of challenges across the ageing space, support idea generation around potential solutions and enable new collaborations to form.
Graham Armitage, Operations Director at NICA, said: “Healthy ageing is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. We collaborate with world-leading scientists, business and healthcare providers to find solutions to support people to live independent, healthy lives for longer, so it’s exciting to see the breadth of ideas come through the accelerator so far.”
Simon Green, CEO of the Innovation SuperNetwork, added: “These ideas are testament to the region’s innovative spirit. The next step is to support the companies, through an environment of collaboration, with tailored business support to help bring these products and services to market and prepare for further investment. By the end of the year we hope to see these nine, potentially life-changing, ideas come to commercial realisation.”
The first cohort of successful businesses, include:
- CPSidekick has developed a simple app to help people dealing with chronic conditions to regularly track the many varied symptoms they experience.
- Future Homes Alliance is developing a blueprint that challenges the status quo and will provide dwellings suited to all no matter of age, back ground or lifestyle.
- Your Health and Care is a ‘memory life’ platform aimed at people with dementia and other neurological conditions.
- InvestAge is a unique approach to providing ethical investment for products and services to enhance later life.
- Mistura Informatics is launching a digital health information system call MaPPs. The system seeks to provide medicine information and supporting tools to help individuals manage their medication.
- ActivCare Coaching provides training and is developing a digital platform to support carers and volunteers in helping the older population remain active into later life.
- Seven Stories is developing Story Swap, an innovative service empowering socially isolated older people to share stories with children and young people.
- Smart2City is developing a new immersive technology product called, Mind3r. The platform integrates mindfulness and meditation to support stress related issues.
- MyFolks allows families to support the holistic care needs of a loved-one through a ‘compassionate concierge’ database of ‘supporters’.
The accelerator will run until October 2019. Northstar Ventures is offering companies the chance to secure £12,500 of investment from the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, to help cover development costs.
NICA will be working with the companies to support the further development of their ideas, while the SuperNetwork will provide intensive advice on the commercial aspects of the projects as well as help to access further grant funding, investment and support as appropriate.
Based on Newcastle Helix, The Biosphere provides a home for ambitious companies within life sciences, offering high-quality biology and chemistry laboratories, Grade A offices and conference space.
Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council said: “We are delighted to welcome nine ambitious businesses to be part of the Newcastle Helix community. Home to the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, the site brings together academics, industry leaders, businesses and top researchers – the perfect environment to bring new products and services to market.
“As our ageing population increases, we are faced with both challenges and opportunities. Newcastle is committed to being at the forefront of innovation, creating a place and environment where people can grow old easily – this accelerator programme is a perfect example of turning our ambition into action.”
Stephen Price, Northstar Ventures Investment Director, said, “The global ageing population presents enormous opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses. We’re pleased to be supporting this accelerator programme and working alongside other regional stakeholders. We’ve been impressed with the local entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas so far and we’re really looking forward to seeing how their ideas and businesses develop further.”