Frank Hester, chief executive of TPP, has been named entrepreneur of the year at the Lloyds National Business Awards.
The founder of the clinical software supplier was praised by the judges, who said: “Judges were particularly impressed with Frank’s healthcare software business TPP, and the persistent way he has expanded the business with his team.
“By empowering and backing a rapidly growing team, many of whom are drawn locally from Leeds, Frank is also creating huge opportunities for young people and the community.”
The TPP boss told Jon Hoeksma, editor of Digital Health News how he felt about winning the accolade:
How do you feel about being named entrepreneur of the year?
It’s a great honour. However, I do feel like I’ve received it on behalf of doctors and professionals, as we just implement what they need in order to provide the best care possible to patients. It’s also down to the outstanding achievements of everyone at the company, who continue to be fantastic to work with.
What would your top three pieces of advice be to any other entrepreneurs starting out in the digital health market?
Firstly, I think it’s continuous innovation – the digital health market is incredibly fast paced, and increasingly getting faster, so it’s more important than ever to keep ahead of the curve and keep innovating.
Perseverance and belief in your product is also a must. I’ve been working on the same product for nearly 20 years, because I have maintained that belief that it is the best product on the market, and helps the NHS to constantly improve.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to look after your employees. I truly believe they are the company’s biggest asset, so I would always reiterate how important it is to take the time to ensure they uphold the values of the company.
What’s been your best decision as an entrepreneur?
Empowering my staff by getting rid of middle management in the company. When we had these managers, it soon became apparent that newer members of teams didn’t feel they could take responsibility for the projects they were working on. And, likewise, managers spent less time actually involved and working on projects.
Since we got rid of that management layer (creating a flat hierarchy), employees have been more empowered, which allows them to be more creative and free thinking. They also feel they are directly responsible for their career and wellbeing – what can be better than that?
What’s been your worst decision as an entrepreneur?
Listening to negativity and those promoting the status quo. The NHS is full of wonderful people, but there are some vocal people who don’t want to see change. It’s easy to forget that those people don’t represent everyone, and the majority do really want to see progress and innovation.
What steps would you like to see taken to make the NHS more open to innovation and start-ups?
Empowering frontline staff – Doctors and nurses are the life force of the NHS, and they should be able to choose new technologies that work for them and their patients. Then, I think we need to improve the culture of promoting innovations that have made a positive impact locally, which can then be implemented on a national scale.
Where are you going to keep your award?
Well we’ve actually only just got it back – in the excitement of winning the award one of our marketing team left it in London after celebrating! It’s now taking pride of place in our office – it’s a great thing for prospective and new employees to see when they come into our reception.