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New accelerator launched for health, wellness and social care sectors

A new initiative to help North East businesses grow or expand into the health, wellness and social care delivery sectors is set to launch.

NEL Fund Managers has joined forces with Northumbria University to set up the Purposeful Health Growth Accelerator, which will offer practical support, advice and capital investment worth more than £1 million in total to up to 200 regional firms.

To qualify for the scheme, businesses need to be working within health, wellness or social care or looking to expand in that direction.

The programme aims to build on the product, process and service innovations many regional firms have come up with in response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as looking at wider commercial opportunities available with these sectors.

Participants will have access to Northumbria University’s research expertise in health and social care alongside a bespoke package of business support.

NEL Fund Managers has also ringfenced up to £500,000 of investment capital from the two elements of the North East Fund that it manages to help selected firms realise their growth potential.

Information and knowledge exchange events are scheduled to take place later in the year as part of the scheme.

The Purposeful Health Growth Accelerator is being backed by the UKRI Research England Development (RED) Fund, which supports projects that aid the development and interaction of the UK’s higher education research and knowledge exchange communities.

Dr Carolyn Horrocks, client relationship manager at Northumbria University, said: “This sector includes a wide variety of different types of businesses, from those providing PPE products, to personal wellbeing advice, through to the practical delivery of care services.

“Given the right support, there are countless opportunities for regional firms to do more in this sector.

“In addition to the businesses already working within the care delivery sector which this project will support, there have been many examples of North East firms pivoting their businesses during the pandemic to provide products and services to support the Covid-19 efforts.

“We’re now aiming to help the firms in the region to capitalise on this momentum.”

Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “We’ve invested in many successful health sector businesses over the years and understand how to help owner/managers realise the growth potential within their operations.

“We want to involve as many businesses as possible with this initiative and encourage them to develop ideas for how investment capital can help them grow and/or expand their operations.”