Sheffield Hallam welcomes first start-up to its £900k Wellbeing Accelerator programme

7th April 2020

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) has welcomed the first start-up business to its £900,000 Wellbeing Accelerator programme.

Footfalls & Heartbeats, a Nottingham-based intelligent textiles business, will access state-of-the-art laboratories, business support packages and specialist facilities to help bring its products to market and improve people’s quality of life.

Based at Sheffield Hallam’s new world-leading £14m research centre, start-up businesses on the programme have access to world-class research and development that allows for rapid prototyping, precision engineering, laboratories for product testing, support networks and a clinical research centre.

The programme works with start-ups, SMEs, founders and agencies to accelerate the development of health and wellbeing technologies and applications. These innovations have become increasingly important this year as people adapt their lifestyles to the social restrictions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Footfalls & Heartbeats 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. The start-up has joined the Accelerator to validate its sensors against gold standard techniques and network with more than 30 mentors associated with the programme.

Simon Butler, Head of the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator, said: “We are thrilled to be launching the Accelerator programme and couldn’t have got off to a better start than accepting Footfalls & Heartbeats, which is such an innovative company, as the first participant. We look forward to accepting applications from many other innovative companies in the coming weeks and months.”

Simon McMaster, Founder and Chief Science Officer at Footfalls & Heartbeats, said: “We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to have access to world-class scientists and facilities at the AWRC to validate our novel technologies. We see validating our technology as a vital step in our product and application development process and, hopefully, the programme will allow us to bring affordable healthcare to the world sooner.”

Dr Dave Smith, Chief Executive of the Sheffield City Region, said: “The Sheffield City Region is a hotbed of innovation and we are incredibly proud of our world-leading medical technology and research. We are delighted to welcome Footfalls & Heartbeats to the region. They will be the first of many firms to benefit from a unique partnership, which gives companies the business support, facilities and expertise they need to grow.

“Our partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and businesses not only unlocks productivity and prosperity, it is helps create products and services which improve people’s lives. The coronavirus pandemic shows why these are needed now more than ever.

“This new world-class business accelerator is exactly what the Sheffield City Region needs to help drive economic growth and will help South Yorkshire become a magnet for innovators and investors.”

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the first phase of the Accelerator programme will be delivered virtually, with technology used to provide mentoring and consulting support. The second phase follows later in the year and will see small cohorts of businesses attending a series of intensive one-week onboarding sessions, followed by several weeks of further support.

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 Accelerator’s aim is to increase the likelihood of, and reduce the timescales for, innovations to be brought to market through a period of intensive testing and development.

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.

If you are a start-up working on a wellbeing innovation and want to apply to be on the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator programme please apply here: http://bit.ly/AcceleratorSignUp.

You might also be interested in

Rules of Origin for Trading with the EU: A Short Explainer for SME's

Fri 26th February 2021

Rules of Origin determine the economic nationality of a good under a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Webinar Recording: Embracing Diversity & Inclusion in Business

Fri 26th February 2021

A video recording of the first Embracing Diversity & Inclusion in Business webinar that took place on the 24th February 2021.

BCC responds to BEIS Committee report, ‘The impact of Coronavirus on businesses and workers’

Fri 26th February 2021

Commenting on the BEIS Select Committee report, ‘The impact of Coronavirus on businesses and workers: Interim pre-Budget report’, BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:

BCC/moneycorp survey: quarter of exporters to the EU considering holding back activity in the EU

Fri 26th February 2021

Results from the latest British Chambers of Commerce survey, in partnership with moneycorp, found that while 44% of UK exporters to the EU plan to grow their exports to the European Union.