The Health Innovation Network has announced “Accelerating FemTech”, a new initiative that will support innovators to boost the development of technology solutions to address current challenges in women’s health.

Accelerating FemTech has been made possible through Innovate UK funding as part of the Biomedical Catalyst.

The initiative is looking to inspire, by engaging innovators (clinicians, companies and academics) around the challenges in women’s health, and to accelerate, by delivering a targeted 10-week accelerator programme for small or medium-sized companies from across the UK.

The programme is being delivered by the Health Innovation Network and partners, including: DigitalHealth.London, CW Innovation, Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN, South West AHSN, West of England AHSN, Mills & Reeve, East Midlands AHSN, Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, Health Innovation Manchester, The Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria, and others.

It builds upon the experience of running the award-winning DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, Propel@YH, and other innovator support programmes from the AHSNs.

Anna King, commercial director for the Health Innovation Network, said: “FemTech is considered to be an underserved area with significant clinical needs. There are enormous opportunities to bring new innovation to women’s health – from female-specific areas such as maternal health, fertility, gynecological cancers and menopause, to conditions that affect women disproportionally or differently, including osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease.”

King and Sara Nelson, programme director at DigitalHealth.London, told Digital Health that they are already seeing strong interest for the accelerator program.

“They are likely to be companies working in one specific area, but which might work well with women’s health,” Nelson said. “We are addressing interest from the side of innovators and also clinicians across the system. We are working with the Royal Colleges doing specific work in this area.”

Inspire includes specialist webinars, from a range of subject matter experts and innovators, to motivate and celebrate innovative solutions, and invite-only face-to-face events, to encourage and connect innovators to solve to women’s health challenges.

These events are targeted at clinicians, academic and innovators interested in tackling women’s health challenges. Details of all of the events can be found here.

A program of bespoke support

Accelerate is a 10-week support programme is for small or medium-sized companies (SMEs) from across the UK, that have early-stage innovations addressing current challenges in women’s health.

Building on the Health Innovation Network’s experience of running the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, the programme will provide companies developing products to solve women’s health challenges with mentoring and bespoke support through expert-led workshops and webinars in areas such as pelvic health, mental health and menopause.

It will support them to develop their product offering, understand the challenges in the women’s health space, grow entrepreneurship skills and engage with key stakeholders across the NHS and academic landscape.

The programme will be delivered in a hybrid format, with two days of face-to-face workshops in London in September and Leeds in October, and a showcase in London in November, supplemented by online support, workshops and coaching.

The programme will also support the companies to apply to the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst call in November 2023, to demonstrate their commercial and technical feasibility. Innovators interested in the programme can find out more and register their interest here.