SEHTA adopts new business model to ensure support for medtech sector
5 January 2012
The South East Health Technologies Alliance (SEHTA), which helps medical technology companies in SE England to establish and grow, is to adopt a new business model to continue to assist its existing members, new members and other organisations.
Against a backdrop of unparalleled upheaval in the global economy as well as mounting pressures on the UK medical sector from budget cuts, SEHTA has broadened its remit and has also set up a commercial arm called SEHTA Enterprises.
SEHTA’s re-focused mission is to “support the sustainable growth of innovative companies and service providers in health and social care and the health technologies sector, including biotechnology, diagnostics, medical device, pharmaceuticals and telecare/telehealth”.
“Times have changed and the publicly funded business support sector is under extreme pressure on several fronts,” says Dr David Parry, CEO of SEHTA. “The NHS, as well all know, faces severe financial constraints, yet at the same time demand for the improved care of patients has never been higher.
“It is extremely important for innovative UK businesses in the healthcare sector to continue to receive support so they can develop, build and deliver products and services to make healthcare delivery more efficient and cost-effective. These companies need help that is both independent and impartial, which is what SEHTA provides to its members.”
Until 2011, SEHTA was partly funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) that faces closure by the 31st of March 2012 as a result of the coalition Government’s spending cuts.
“The funding provided by SEEDA has been important to us, but it hasn’t been the only form of income to support SEHTA and our members,” explains Dr Parry. “We continue to manage several other public and private sector contracts and are bidding for several more, both in the UK and EU.
“We are also developing strategic partnerships with organisations similar to ourselves — those who will be providing support and services to SMEs, universities and the health sector.”
SEHTA has also created a wholly-owned subsidiary, called SEHTA Enterprises, to focus on commercial opportunities. “We will be launching our new membership package early in the 2012, one that’s designed to help our members save money, make the right contacts and help their businesses grow,” says Dr Parry. “We will also be announcing a new programme of events for members and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector, including a series on ‘Accessing the NHS’.”
Since its inception, SEHTA has developed a strong track record in business support, networking and developing projects in response to healthcare sector needs. The creation of the International Centre of Excellence in Telecare (ICE-T) is one such example, where SEHTA managed to support over £1 million of market-led collaborative projects and created a thriving network of over 1,500 contacts.
This year, SEHTA also managed the most successful innovation voucher project in Europe — it was five times over-subscribed and introduced around 50 companies to universities to access expertise and equipment. “Several of these introductions have resulted in more grants and new and mutually beneficial partnerships,” adds Dr Parry.
“Our understanding and contacts within the health service are growing all the time. There is recognition that the NHS really does need industry to provide innovative cost-effective solutions to its challenges and we have been responsible for working with our Strategic Health Authorities, now the Southern Cluster, to bring SBRI projects for SMEs to our local companies. These contracts from the SHA are designed to help industry solve NHS problems.”
To find out more about SEHTA, please visit: www.sehta.co.uk