The DigitalHealth.London Leap programme was launched towards the end of December last year, an initiative that is committed to championing inclusivity and supporting health tech founders from diverse backgrounds.

According to the Alan Turing Institute, women are being left behind in the race to invest in AI – with female-founded companies accounting for less than 3% of venture capital funding deals. It’s a similar picture for companies with founders from an ethnic minority background. A report from The Treasury Committee revealed that in 2021, less than 2% of all venture capital funding went to black and ethnic minority-led businesses.

The inaugural Leap programme was launched as part of DigitalHealth.London’s efforts to address such disparities. It aims to foster inclusivity and cultivate an environment that can help propel digital health innovators from underrepresented communities to success. The programme is open to founders from diverse backgrounds – including individuals who identify as being from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities, the global majority, female (cis or trans) and those who are neurodiverse and/or disabled.

Funded by the UK Government via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the DigitalHealth.London Leap programme is delivered by the Health Innovation Network (HIN) South London, in partnership with the Office of Life Sciences, CW+, Medicity, NHS England, the Mayor of London, and the Levelling Up Fund.

Successful applicants stand to gain the benefits of a comprehensive development curriculum that incorporates coaching, peer support, mentoring, learning opportunities, networking and, where appropriate, potential investment and funding support.

Mentoring opportunities come from a dedicated and diverse programme advisory panel of subject matter experts. In addition, round table events and Action Learning Sets will help to foster a collaborative environment for peer-to-peer support, and drop-in sessions with a dedicated digital health navigator provide personalised support,

Applications are now open and interested parties have until 14 January 2024 to apply.

Although the Leap programme is in its infancy, DigitalHealth.London has a history of running successful accelerator programmes. In November last year, it opened applications for the sixth Launchpad programme which was open to London-based companies close to launch stage.