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 a ‘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 companies have the capacity to benefit from the programme.
What are the eligibility criteria for companies to be considered?

For the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, companies must have a registered office in London, and will be asked to provide evidence of this.

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.

Businesses must be registered with Companies House to join a regional digital health accelerator. 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?

All companies must fulfill the eligibility criteria, as outlined on this webpage, to take part in a regional digital health accelerator. Once we are satisfied that an applicant fulfills these, we consider companies’ suitability based 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 companies have the capacity and resources to take action based on guidance and opportunities they receive through the programme.

We also consider companies’ ability to demonstrate their commitment and links to the region they are applying to, and their ability to build relationships within the region. 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?

All companies must fulfill the eligibility criteria to take part in a regional digital health accelerator. Once we are satisfied that an applicant fulfills these, we consider companies’ suitability based 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 companies have the capacity and resources to take action based on guidance and opportunities they receive through the programme.

 

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 a central 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 relevant regional digital health 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 on the appropriate accelerator, subject to due diligence checks.

At both the online stage and at interview, applications are scored for their suitability for participation in the 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 the region they are applying to, and their ability to build relationships within the region. Good business links, for example staff, contracts, or other relationships will be considered favourably.

I've heard about digital health accelerators run by AHSNs in other parts of the country, where can I learn more?

Building on the successes of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, four new accelerators have been set up by South West AHSN, East Midlands AHSN, Health Innovation Manchester, and Kent Surrey and Sussex AHSN. These digital health accelerators share the aim of speeding up the adoption of technology in the NHS, relieve high pressure on services and empower patients to manage their health.

Each accelerator takes elements of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme model as a template, and supports high potential small and medium sized companies (SMEs) to develop and deploy solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the NHS, and help innovative digital health innovations to benefit patients faster.

The five accelerators serve as a network to streamline support along the Innovation Pathway as suggested in the Accelerated Access Review, and form a key aspect of delivering AHSN Innovation Exchanges locally. Each accelerator focuses on engagement with local clinicians and healthcare experts in their region, working collaboratively to get to the root of health and care challenges and find solutions.

Through their respective AHSNs and the wider AHSN Network, the accelerators draw upon key partners to bring a rich and diverse collateral of resources and expertise across healthcare, research, innovation, digital health, and technology.

You can find out more by going to the AHSNs’ individual websites:

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 one of the Digital Health Accelerators 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 £45,000. 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 the regional digital health accelerators and other programmes like the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) and SBRI?

The regional digital health accelerators are distinct from SBRI and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), in that they work with earlier stage 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 regional digital health accelerators focus exclusively on companies with digitally-enabled solutions, and provide a network of regional 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 SBRI Healthcare programme provides funding to develop innovations that meet the challenges facing the healthcare system. The regional digital health accelerators work 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, CW+, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. It is supported by the Mayor of London; and is part-funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.

The Accelerator is receiving £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