Impact review 2020-21: innovator and commercial support

The West of England AHSN has been a great support in my journey: from the Health Innovation Programme, which was amazing and benefitted us so much, to the support received afterwards. I would absolutely recommend the Health Innovation Programme to anyone in my position.

Chen Davies CEO of LatchAid, an innovative breastfeeding app

Working with the AHSN over the last two years has been an amazing experience. The team has given us fantastic support, and their expert insight into how to work with the NHS, and how to put together a suitable proposition and explain our initiative, has been invaluable.

Harry Stevens Commercial Director & Joint MD of Rugged Interactive, creator of the CardioWall technology

£9.7 million

in funding leveraged by innovators through grants and private investment with our support


jobs created by companies we’ve supported


jobs safeguarded by companies we’ve supported


innovators supported by our business development team


people visited our Innovation Exchange, the online front door for innovators to our services and resources

Business development

The health and care landscape can be confusing to navigate for innovators. How do you know what the current gaps and needs are? Where can you get meaningful feedback on your idea or product? How do you sell to the NHS? This is where our business development team comes in.

We offer a range of support services and guidance to innovators who are developing products and services that have the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce overall NHS expenditure and grow the UK health sector economy.

This ranges from signposting and general advice around developing healthcare innovations to more tailored support for companies already working with NHS organisations. We can also provide coaching around engaging with the NHS as a marketplace.

In the last year, our business development team worked with over 150 innovators. A further 2,856 people accessed support via our online Innovation Exchange, the place for healthcare innovators to find expertise, funding, support and collaborators.

Visit our Innovation Exchange

Health Innovation Programme


innovators have attended our Health Innovation Programme since 2015

The West of England AHSN has been very helpful throughout my journey. I attended its Health Innovator Programme, which gave me a crash course in business and taught me how to pitch into the NHS.

Caz Icke Founding CEO of SoleSense

In November, 15 innovators from 10 different companies successfully secured places on our latest Health Innovation Programme (HIP), which we have run in partnership with SETSquared, the global no.1 university business incubator, since 2015.

Due to lockdown, the programme went run completely virtually, with a freshly designed course to suit the new format. As ever, SETsquared framed the business theory, while we provided insight around practical applications in the NHS.

The latest cohort of HIPsters brought a variety of business ideas to the table, from tele-presence robots and prosthetic fitting software to a diagnostic and prognostic decision-support tool for neurologists.

Now in its sixth year, HIP is an intensive, fully funded, development course that helps entrepreneurs develop business propositions with real potential to transform healthcare, and equip them with the core skills in entrepreneurship to take their propositions forward.

To date 114 innovators have graduated from HIP. We have supported the development of a wide range of innovations, including digital apps, services that support mental health issues and promote wellbeing, a smart prosthetic socket, an AI solution to help people live safely in their own homes, a breastfeeding app, a toolkit to help support individuals with psychosis or bipolar disorder, and resources to lower workplace stress.

This year two graduates of HIP were winners of the prestigious Women in Innovation Awards 2021.

Health tech trailblazers, Caz Icke (Neuro Physiotherapist and Founding CEO of SoleSense) and Chen Davies, (Founder and CEO of LatchAid) attended HIP at the start of their innovation journeys, and continued to receive the ongoing business support offered to all alumni.

Caz and Chen were both successful in their bids to win one of the sought-after awards offered annually by Innovate UK. Each receives a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.