Applications for the latest round of a Health Innovation Programme offering a free 4-day entrepreneur course to help healthcare entrepreneurs navigate the NHS business landscape are now open.

“We are looking for people that are passionate about using innovation to improve healthcare”


The programme, which has been running since 2015, is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is a partnership between the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and SETsquared, the global no.1 university business incubator.

Kate Phillips, the Business Development Advisor for the West of England AHSN tells us, “We are looking for people that are passionate about using innovation to improve healthcare. They might simply have the seed of an idea or they might have a product already in development. Either way the concept must have the potential to become a sustainable business proposition.

“The West of England Health Innovation Programme is here to support the development of concepts that have the potential to make real impact in the healthcare sector.”

To be eligible to apply you need to be:

  • a healthcare professional or academic employed by one of the West of England AHSN’s member organisations (NHS providers, CCGs and universities);
  • a public contributor involved in one of these organisation;
  • a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) or micro-business

Successful applicants will be helped to develop their business idea, analyse their market and potential customers, develop a compelling pitch and look at funding strategies. They will also be given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and healthcare experts, who will provide invaluable feedback to help them take their business forward.

“The Network helped us understand who are customers were, and how to communicate with them”


Kate tells us the feedback from previous course participants has been really positive: “For the last three years the West of England AHSN has run the Health Innovation Programme and we’ve been told it is very inspiring, educational, supportive and hard… but worth the effort!

“As it is an intensive four-day personal development programme, with a variety of activities and speakers, we have plenty of caffeinated drinks on hand to make sure no one gets left behind. The programme has always been oversubscribed, with our healthcare innovators being the best champions.

“In addition, the programme was selected as a case study for NHS Confederation in 2017, as an example of bridging the gap between health care and innovation.”

Jenny Dance, Director of Phona Ltd (pictured left), a creator of a speech-therapy app, who took part in the programme previously, agrees: “Had the West of England AHSN not offered this training programme, it would have been impossible to build a convincing business case for potential health commissioners. The Network helped us understand who are customers were, how to communicate with them, and the thinking they were looking for before making a decision on a product.”

Interested? The Health Innovation Programme runs on the following dates in Swindon: 7, 8, 11, 15 June 2018. You have until 16 April to apply You can read the full Health Innovation Programme course agenda here.