A business support programme in Cheshire and Warrington will see small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with healthcare innovations receive guidance on access to the NHS, funding and investment opportunities.
The Innovation Agency delivers Cheshire and Warrington Health Matters in partnership with Health Innovation Manchester – the Academic Health Science Network for Greater Manchester – and the University of Chester.
The European-funded collaborative will help local businesses navigate the health ecosystem and will provide real-word validation of products and services, showing evidence of impact and benefits.
The launch of Cheshire and Warrington Health Matters marks the completion of the programme’s rollout across the whole of the North West Coast. Similar programmes are already under way in the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire and South Cumbria.
By working with the programme, businesses can take advantage of the knowledge and expertise in the partnership, including unique access to the NHS, clinical staff, commissioners and academics.
The programme’s aim is to catalyse businesses to become market leaders in health, wellbeing and care by encouraging the development of new products, services and solutions.
Dr Liz Mear, Innovation Agency Chief Executive, said: “Cheshire and Warrington Health Matters will support innovative local businesses capable of moving into, or growing within, the health and care sectors with new or existing services or products.
“The programme will provide mechanisms to validate the benefits of an innovation in a practical, real-world setting, a key activity to support health system uptake. The programme will also support the region’s ambitions to address the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges and wider activities.”
Professor Ben Bridgewater, Chief Executive of Health Innovation Manchester, said: “This collaboration gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative healthcare solutions being developed by pioneering health tech businesses in the region. We look forward to matching these solutions with healthcare challenges, delivering real improvements in the quality of care for patients and supporting the effectiveness and efficiency of our health services.”
Joe McArdle, Director of Health and Medical Innovation at the University of Chester, said: “It’s not enough to produce a great product – you have to prove it works, and this is key to the spread and adoption of innovation in the healthcare sector.
“The University of Chester is proud to be offering skills and expertise to support the development of new approaches to the improvement of health and wellbeing in the region.”