Sheffield Hallam completes first phase of its £900k Wellbeing Accelerator

22nd October 2020

Sheffield Hallam completes first phase of its £900k Wellbeing Accelerator

A tech start-up specialising in online mental health therapy, an activity app which provides buddy support for novice exercisers and a Yorkshire-based SME creating power-assisted equipment to help older adults feel comfortable exercising, are amongst the first cohort of businesses to have been accepted on to Sheffield Hallam University’s £900,000 Wellbeing Accelerator programme.

The Wellbeing Accelerator operates out of Sheffield Hallam’s world-leading £14 million Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), with start-ups on the programme gaining access to world-class research and development to allow for rapid prototyping, precision engineering, laboratories for product testing, support networks and a clinical research centre.

The Accelerator aims to increase the likelihood and reduce the timescales for health innovations to be brought to market through a period of intensive testing and development.

Since April 2020, 16 UK-based and four international start-ups have been accepted on to the programme, with a further four spaces remaining available. Over 70 businesses have formally applied to join the Accelerator to date, with the Department of International Trade playing a key recruitment role in promoting the programme through its network of commercial officers.

The businesses taking part in the AWRCs Wellbeing Accelerator include:

  1. ALSAD Medical - a new health management application, ALSAD (Automatic LifeStyle ADvice) to help people with kidney disease and diabetes in personalised daily health management.
  2. Aseptika – a Cambridge-based healthcare business which has developed a remote monitoring system for patients with non-communicable diseases.
  3. Etexsense – a Southampton-based e-textiles start-up developing e-textiles for wearable healthcare applications rehabilitation of drop foot.
  4. Exyo - working alongside young people living with mobility needs, exyo has designed the world’s first off-road posterior walking aid.
  5. Footfalls & Heartbeats – a Nottingham-based intelligent textiles business. It has patented a technique in which sensors are knitted directly into textiles.  The technology can be applied to compression bandages, wound care, injury rehabilitation, baby monitoring and performance monitoring textiles for athletes.
  6. Golf in Society – a Yorkshire-based social enterprise with a mission to improve the lives of people living with dementia, stroke and Parkinson’s by introducing them to the health and wellbeing benefits of golf.
  7. Hero – a Leeds-based health tech and services start-up focused on evidence-based strategic initiatives to impact preventative and holistic health, focusing on tools to support lifestyle, mental, physical, social and financial health
  8. JT Rehab – a Sheffield-based rehabilitation device start-up which has developed the S-Press, a novel rehabilitation device for preventing hospital-acquired de-conditioning and improving leg strength to maintain crucial physical function.
  9. KiActiv  - a personalised and guided online programme to help people make the most of their lifestyle and the opportunities it holds to change behaviour – regardless of age or ability.
  10. Lovedby – hailing from Manchester its product Nudg is a personalised education platform for Adolescents managing a chronic condition. It changes behaviour and habits using nudge techniques to encourage long-term health and wellbeing improvements.
  11. Mayathon – is a London-based startup with an app that uses a buddy system to help people be more active for 26 minutes per day, for 26 days.
  12. Motitech - a Norwegian start-up, with a UK operation, that motivates older adults and those with dementia to do more physical activity using its Motiview tool.
  13. Mynurva – a London-based start-up specialising in online mental health therapy. It provides fast access to therapy or counselling, confidentially, securely and discreetly, via its live video platform. There are no waiting rooms, and no travelling is required.
  14. Pelitec - a novel blister prevention pad developed in the United Kingdom. The pad has been shown to be effective in reducing the occurrence of blisters and helping them heal.
  15. Restful – addressing sleep issues by making quality sleep technologies. In 2018, they  introduced Bedtime Bulb, a light bulb that is meant to be used before going to sleep. It works by reducing blue light, which has been shown to disrupt the circadian rhythm, or body clock.
  16. Run3D – an Oxford-based spin out providing novel 3D gait analysis and retraining platform to help people walk and run pain-free.
  17. Salus Fatigue Foundation - a not for profit organisation that provides support, education and help in the long term to inspire people living with fatigue related conditions to improve their health and wellbeing.
  18. Selfit Medical – an Israeli start-up based in Tel Aviv, that focuses on solutions for the ageing population. The company has developed a ‘robot therapist’ for people with brain and heart disorders which guides them through a personalised physical therapy plan by projecting movement directions onto the floor, combined with audio prompts, and the capacity to film and review.
  19. Shapemaster – a Holmfirth-based manufacturer of power-assisted exercise equipment suitable for people who feel uncomfortable within a traditional gym environment, such as those aged over 55, to support active ageing in older adults and those living with a wide range of long term health conditions.
  20. Sleep Cogni - developing a product that delivers a unique wind down process to promote sleep. We deliver cognitive behavioural therapy using biofeedback (through visual, auditory and tactile cues) to help you relearn sleep.

Dr Chris Low, Head of Portfolio and Partnerships and Associate Dean in the College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences at Sheffield Hallam, said: “We have been delighted with the interest the Wellbeing Accelerator has received globally from SMEs and start-ups. With innovative companies applying from four continents the Accelerator is reinforcing the reputation of the Sheffield City Region as a global magnet for industry, investment and innovation.”  

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the first phase of the Accelerator programme has been delivered virtually, with technology used to provide mentoring and consulting support. The second phase has commenced with socially-distanced research and development; a series of virtual workshops from industry; and plans being undertaken for a hybrid conference on health and wellbeing innovation in early 2021.

The Wellbeing Accelerator at the AWRC is one of 20 University Enterprise Zones (UEZs), launched with a £20 million investment delivered by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation.

The AWRC, which forms the centrepiece of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the population through innovations that help people move. Its mission is to prevent and treat chronic disease through co-designed research into physical activity – whilst also attracting new jobs and investment to the region.

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