FAQs

If your company is seeking engagement and traction within London’s digital health ecosystem, taking part in the Accelerator programme can support you with opportunities to connect with NHS stakeholders, industry investors, patients, and other healthtech innovators.

Below we have compiled a list of questions  with answers, to help you decide if this is the right programme for your company, and to support you during the application process.

 

What support does the Accelerator offer?

Companies accepted onto the programme will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and training, “meet the expert” sessions, one to one clinics, and other events and learning opportunities hosted and delivered by the accelerator and its clinical, topical, and business experts.

Each company is also assigned an “NHS Navigator”: an experienced professional from the NHS with the expertise to understand their needs and share expertise and advice on products in development, NHS navigation, and business models.

Support focuses on areas specific to individual companies’ needs, with a focus on engagement with different elements of the health and care system. It may include:

  • Engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts
  • Refining products to meet NHS need
  • Deepening understanding of the health system
  • Showcasing innovations in health facilities
  • Developing business models to progress product development
  • Market access and navigation

 

What is the application process?

The application process consists of two stages:

  1. Online Application: We will use an online application portal to filter applications according to business credibility, fit with NHS priorities and the extent to which we believe the programme will make a positive impact on your business. You will need to register on our online application platform and can then save and return to your application at any point until the deadline. The application form is easy to complete: it includes questions about your company and the digital health products you have in development. If you are successful at this stage you will be invited to a panel interview.
  2. Panel Interviews: Applicants successful in the online application stage will be invited to interviews with a panel of experts from across the healthcare, commercial and technology sectors.

 

At what stage of development do companies have to be to apply?

Companies that have a product or solution that is well-defined and are ready to start building their evidence base are likely to benefit the most from the type of support offered through the programme, as it focuses on engagement with different elements of the health and care system.

The emphasis in considering companies’ suitability focuses on three areas:

  • Credibility of business – so the companies have the potential to succeed and thrive
  • NHS need, and potential to help provide appropriate solutions – so the companies are meeting a real demand
  • Potential to benefit from the programme – so the company has the capacity to benefit from the programme
What are the eligibility criteria for companies to be considered?

Companies from both inside and London are invited to apply for the first time in 2019-20. The Accelerator will accept approximately 20 London-based companies, and up to 10 companies from outside of London for the 2019-20 programme.

Companies should consider their ability to travel to London regularly, as most workshops and training events will be held in the capital. SMEs without a registered address in London will be asked to demonstrate that they have the resources and commitment to spend a significant amount of time in London during the programme.

Companies must demonstrate compliance with the EU definition of “small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) at the time of embarking on the programme http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition_en If you are not sure whether or not you meet the criteria, we will be able to make a judgment based on your responses to questions in the form.

We can accept sole-traders, providing you have a unique tax reference number. If you are a charity, please contact dhla@digitalhealth.london to discuss before applying.

My company is from overseas, can it apply?

Companies from both inside and outside London are eligible to apply: the Accelerator will accept up to 20 London-based companies, and up to 10 companies from outside of London for the 2019-20 programme.

Companies should consider their ability to travel to London regularly, as most workshops and training events will be held in the capital. SMEs without a registered address in London will be asked to demonstrate that they have the resources and commitment to spend a significant amount of time in London during the programme.

We also consider companies’ ability to demonstrate their commitment and links to London, and their ability to build relationships within it. Good business links, for example staff, contracts, or other relationships will be considered favourably.

I am only a one-person / very small business - can I still apply?

We consider applications from companies with between one and 250 employees. However, we strongly advise applicants to consider their capacity to:

  • Attend training and workshops provided by the Accelerator (usually one per week)
  • Take up new opportunities such as meetings with decision-makers and influencers, sometimes at short notice
  • Respond and act on feedback and advice received
  • Travel regularly to London.

Companies that have taken part before have told us that they got the most from the accelerator when they had the time, head space, and resource to fully engage and amend their approach as advised. In the past, companies with the capacity to fully engage have tended to have five employees or more.

What process or criteria is used to choose companies to take part?

Passing the rigorous selection process is a testament to the hard work and potential of each company.

Companies initially apply using an online portal, and are shortlisted against specific criteria by at least four professionals with expertise in healthcare and/or digital health. Companies scoring highly at this stage are offered an interview, which will be carried out by the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator team in partnership with invited experts.

At the interview stage, companies are interviewed by a panel of five (on average) experts from varied backgrounds, including digital, clinical, and decision-making. Experts are matched where possible to interview companies that fall in their area of expertise or need, and score each on specific criteria.

Applicants are ranked on their scores, and the top companies are offered a place subject to due diligence checks.

At both the online stage and at interview, applications are scored for their suitability for participation in the London Accelerator in three areas:

  • Credibility of business model.
  • NHS need, and potential to help provide appropriate solutions.
  • Potential to benefit from the programme.

We also consider companies’ ability to demonstrate their commitment and links to London, and their ability to build relationships within it. Good business links, for example staff, contracts, or other relationships will be considered favourably. We also look for clear motivation and interest in applying.

Does the Accelerator provide funding?

The Accelerator can connect companies to relevant funding opportunities, but does not provide direct funding.

 

 

Does the Accelerator take equity or invest in companies?

No.

 

 

 

 

 

How does participation affect compliance with state aid rules?

The benefits offered through DigitalHealth.London Accelerator classify as assistance under the European Commission’s De Minimis Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013) on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid; Official Journal L 352/1 of 24.12.2013). This allows an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 worth of assistance over any three year fiscal period (i.e. fiscal years used by the undertaking in the UK). The amount of de minimis aid that your company will receive through the accelerator is estimated to be worth the equivalent of £35,000. You will receive a State Aid certificate at the end of your involvement with the accelerator programme, confirming how much de minimis aid you received. More information can be found here.

 

What is the difference between DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and other programmes like the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) and SBRI?
  • The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is distinct from SBRI and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), in that it works with companies who will benefit from closer working with the NHS in a region, for example to trial products or build their real-world evidence base.
  • Unlike the NIA, the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator focuses exclusively on companies with digitally-enabled solutions, and provides a network of London-based support, rather than a national programme. DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator also focuses on companies, whereas the NIA offers a dual support model for individuals and their innovations.
  • The NIA seeks to support innovations with a  comprehensive evidence base, whereas DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is happy to support companies that could benefit from additional real world validation, particularly real world validation in London.
    The SBRI Healthcare programme provides funding to develop innovations that meet the challenges facing the healthcare system. The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator works with companies who have already developed digitally-enabled solutions.
How is the Accelerator funded?

The Accelerator is a partnership between London’s three AHSNs (Health Innovation Network, Imperial College Health Partners, UCLPartners), MedCity, and CW+. It is supported by the Mayor of London; and is part-funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.

The Accelerator is receiving up to £1.7 million of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

 

 

 

 

What other support is available to help my company work with the NHS?

Outside of DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, there are a range of local and national programmes available in each of the 15 AHSNs. You should contact your local AHSN directly to access their services and support: www.ahsnnetwork.com/about-academic-health-science-networks