The Innovation Agency and our fellow 14 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) have generated nearly £500m in inward investment in the last two years, new figures reveal.
The AHSNs also created or safeguarded nearly 2,000 jobs in the same period. The inward investment figures far exceed the £13m in annual funding the Network receives to deliver economic growth. The figures are conservative estimates, based on the results of an annual economic growth survey of companies supported by the AHSNs, with a response rate of around 50 per cent.
In the last financial year alone, the Innovation Agency supported 343 companies, resulting in the creation of 112 jobs, and secured £12.8m in funding and more than £5.3m worth of new contracts with the NHS, as we reported in September.
The Innovation Agency’s commercial team delivers bespoke support to small and medium-sized companies with innovations that have the potential to benefit the health and care system. They also introduce UK and overseas companies with healthcare solutions to the North West Coast.
Nicola Hutchinson, Economic Growth Director for the AHSN Network, said: “The value of health innovation has never been as evident as it is now.
“I am extremely proud of our AHSN teams across the country who have played a vital role in delivering transformation of key NHS services and pathways. Every day our teams support health innovators from idea to implementation, so that they can in turn support our NHS staff and improve the lives of patients.
“In this difficult economic climate, it is more important than ever to provide the right kind of guidance to companies who can prosper and help our nation to recover from this crisis.”
Simon Sandford, Director of Cheshire-based community interest company Healthbox, which delivers a range of community services, said: "The Innovation Agency has been brilliant. They've helped us focus, shown us we're running a business; before, we wanted to help everyone – now we focus more on generating revenue so we can continue to provide the services we want to.
“Our turnover last year was £700K. This year, we’ve turned over £1.2m. We're employing more than 40 people, up from 24 last year."
Lee Omar, founder and CEO of Safe Steps, the Liverpool-based digital tool for assessing the risk of falls, said: “The Innovation Agency has been instrumental in helping us get traction in the care home network and in the wider Cheshire and Merseyside health and care system.
“In the past year we have taken on three additional staff and signed contracts worth £360,000 with healthcare organisations – the Innovation Agency’s help has been invaluable.”
The Innovation Agency and the AHSN Network work closely with a large range of companies, helping them to adapt quickly and respond to NHS needs effectively.
For example, in the early days of the pandemic the Network was able to quickly curate a database of more than 350 proven technologies that had the potential to support the NHS in particularly challenging areas.
The economic growth impact survey shows that the investment leveraged by the AHSNs in England doubled from £152m in 2018-19 to £322m in 2019-20 – a total of £474m over the two years.