Dundee’s Healthtech Business Accelerator set to take Scottish innovation to the world  

13/10/2022

THE City of Discovery will be home next year to a world-class HealthTech Accelerator programme for entrepreneurs, with an opportunity now for ambitious investors to get on board early to support its global aims.

The Dundee HealthTech Accelerator (HTA) plans to deliver industry specific sector support, heightened access to market opportunities, and connection to an active investor network.

HTA – based in Dundee Contemporary Arts centre – will support entrepreneurs by bringing their innovative research technologies, products, and services to market on an accelerated timescale and then will aim to scale them up quickly.

Elevator, InnoScot Health, Dundee City Council, the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside have all partnered to deliver this globally ambitious proposition, providing the best possible chance of success to new businesses generated from Tayside’s expertise in this area as well as the wider regional science base. 

Dundee is a world-class centre for medical, dental, life sciences, technology, and gaming expertise, and the HTA is expected to further build on that reputation. Dundee is one of Europe’s foremost health clusters with the city’s vibrant BioDundee initiative, and with 900 health/life science researchers at Dundee University alone. The University is ranked #1 in the world for impact in pharmaceuticals (Clarivate report 2018), and #1 in Europe for Biomedical research (QS World University Rankings 2021).

Internationally, a further aim of the HTA is to attract early-stage companies from outside the UK to locate to Scotland – but a key initial priority is to secure public funding as well as private and academic investment.

Head of Innovation at InnoScot Health, Robert Rea said: “HTA will support the growth and development of early-stage companies. It will help entrepreneurs by giving them mentorship, guidance, and support to develop and scale their innovative ideas. 

“The goal is to accelerate the development of the next generation of world-class companies that will grow a sustainable and vibrant cluster in the Tayside region and improve its contribution to the Scottish health technology economy.

“Initially, the Accelerator is seeking sponsorship and investment for it to run the first 13-week programme in 2023 and ultimately become self-sustaining in the longer term. We have already had some great investment locally and significant interest but would like to make a truly meaningful impact thanks to more coming on board.

“The programme will then focus on teaching entrepreneurial disciplines to the dozen or so participating companies, as well as best practice for business growth, and the capabilities to access new investment opportunities through pitch preparation. The most promising will be given access to training and guidance, the chance to mix with similarly ambitious peers and high growth ventures, and to network with Elevator’s extensive international connections.

“This bank of experience and expertise will give companies access to a unique network that will help them to make the best of their idea and their business. For individuals taking part, it’s a chance to develop as a person, a leader, and as an entrepreneur.”

He added: “It’s an exciting time for all those who have partnered on this amazing homegrown accelerator, and a real opportunity to put ourselves on the international map for this type of project.”

Michael Fowle, who is managing the programme, said: “There is a transformative power to accelerators. Good people realise their potential and become remarkable, and good ideas become working innovations. 

“An inspiring combination of expectation, momentum, and intensity, peer group support and constant mixing with customers, role models and investors, all come together to create something special and unique.

“I’ve seen it happen in Silicon Valley and Boston, and I’ve seen it happen with my own accelerators in the UK. Given the rich backdrop of Dundee’s HealthTech ecosystem, I’m confident we can create jobs, boost the regional economy, and generate innovations that will improve people’s lives across the world.”

Successful HealthTech Accelerators are a feature of the entrepreneurial landscape in the USA and across Europe, but to date have not featured in Scotland. The HTA will address this market gap.

On completion, participants will have all the necessary skills, knowledge and networks to take their idea from concept to market readiness. Experienced mentors will challenge successful candidates on their goals, plans and business ideas, fine-tuning them until they are investor-ready.

This programme will be led by Elevator which works across Scotland to help facilitate the start-up, acceleration and growth of new and existing businesses through its unique delivery of Business Gateway services and a range of accelerator programmes. Elevator supports around 20% of Scotland’s Business Gateway start-up companies.

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