In this blog our Workstream Lead, Neil Toner, shares his reflections on a recent Estonian delegation visit to the region and the importance of Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s latest addition to our international programme.
As part of Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s international programme I have been establishing partnerships with countries that have a strong and thriving healthtech sector. The aim of the programme is to showcase our region as a great place to do business and create opportunities for academia and the NHS to establish projects benefitting patients and boosting economic growth.
Estonia is recognised as the world’s most advanced digital society, creating start-ups such Skype and TransferWise. With a nationwide e-health infrastructure with more than 10 years of digital health data, it has a highly innovative health-tech ecosystem.
The Estonian Embassy in London had been exploring a potential delegation visit to the UK for 2022. Leeds had been recommended as a prime location for international health-tech SMEs as the city is one of the UK’s most promising tech hubs. There are 8,695 digital and tech businesses in Leeds City Region generating a turnover of £3.67 billion.
Meeting the Estonian delegation
On 28th September 2022 we attended an all-day event with the Estonian Embassy, SMEs, accelerators and trade bodies at Salem Chapel, which was kindly provided by Professor Adam Beaumont from AQL – one of the UK’s most innovative telecoms operators based in Leeds.
The delegation visit was a collaboration between the Estonian Embassy in London, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Leeds City Council and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN. The event provided a great opportunity to discover innovators with solutions that can support the priorities of our NHS partners and help to deliver better outcomes for patients. By establishing new companies in our region, we will also create new job opportunities and help increase economic growth for Yorkshire and the Humber.
The day began with a welcome session which started with Professor Adam Beaumont, Chairman of AQL and Honorary Consul for Estonia. Adam has a long history of supporting trade missions and trips to different regions of Estonia, and hosting delegations in Leeds.
We were privileged to be joined by the Estonian Ambassador Viljar Lubi who spoke about his affection for Leeds and the ongoing collaboration between the country and the North of England.
This event was attended by a host of senior stakeholders from the region including Eve Roodhouse – Chief Officer, Economy and Culture for Leeds City Council – James Goodyear – Director of Strategy Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and our own Phil Waywell, Director of Digital Partnerships.
The welcome session finished with Priit Salumaa, co-founder and CEO of Better Medicine, a company already operating within the Leeds ecosystem. Priit provided his view on what makes the region special and what great support is provided here. Better Medicine is also one of the eleven SMEs that joined this year’s cohort taking part in our digital health accelerator programme Propel@YH.
Following on from Priit’s welcome note, attendees moved to the exhibition space for a facilitated networking session with companies matched to regional innovation support, including speakers and other attendees from the opening session.
This was a highly beneficial interactive session where the companies could discuss their solution with experts from the sector, gain some valuable advice and explore future collaboration.
After an insightful morning developing ideas and solutions indoors, Tom Hutchinson from Leeds LEP led our visitors on a tour of Leeds City Centre, including a Leeds General Infirmary site visit, highlighting where the new hospitals will be built. The visit concluded at Nexus University of Leeds, where delegates had the opportunity to learn more about this amazing facility and its pivotal role in helping to create a strong community of innovators and entrepreneurs.
The day concluded with SMEs pitching to a panel of experts from the region, who covered commercial, NHS, research and investment sectors. The companies performed very well under pressure and presented some high-quality pitches in just seven minutes. The panels were really impressed with them and provided some great feedback and in some cases wanted to follow up to find out more.
The SMEs and innovations included:
- TheraSync – a platform which brings the full mental health care team into a joint information and communication space, allowing them to make the best treatment decisions based on the patient’s history and progress.
- Nanordica Medical – a health technology company providing multifunctional antibacterial nanotechnologies that can be used in different medical devices.
- Neurosalience – has developed a tool for early detection of dementia from MRI scans which allows healthcare providers to decrease patient-related costs and improve the quality of life of those at risk of dementia.
- Migrevention is the first fully digital headache clinic in the world with the goal to help more than 1 billion migraine sufferers globally.
- Better Medicine builds AI powered tools for radiologists. Equipped with Artificial Intelligence, their tools enable doctors to diagnose and fight cancer in more efficient and accurate ways.
- Emma Triage is a clinical decision support system, which exploits machine learning on real-world data with the aim to assist ER personnel to more effectively triage incoming patients.
- Cognuse offers software digital health solutions for clinical protocol adherence and speech therapy support.
- Triumf Health offers a personalised approach to improving patient outcomes and empowering ill children to live healthier lives by delivering digital therapeutics through a mobile game.
- Certific is a certification infrastructure for enabling simple at home medical procedures.
Now that we have supported the SMEs to make some positive connections with partners in the city, we will continue to nurture and support those discussions with the aim of landing a pilot site in the region and help the companies to establish themselves in the city.
Events like these are vital to help innovators to further develop their solutions for the benefit of patients across our region as well as boosting the local economy. We will continue our work with partners and SMEs to support their journey and tackle together any challenges.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with me at email@example.com to find out more about our international programme