Press Release - The Digital Exchange
3 May 2016, 10:12
Bradford’s new Digital Health Enterprise Zone is open for business
On Wednesday 13th April 2016 the team at the Digital Health Enterprise Zone welcomed an enthusiastic audience to the beautifully refurbished Digital Exchange Building, in Bradford’s Little Germany. Now they want to hear from local digital entrepreneurs!
The £13m DHEZ programme is a 3-way partnership led by the University of Bradford along with BT and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council who has contributed the building to the University for this purpose. The programme has attracted funding of £3.8m from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Digital Exchange, one of two innovation spaces in the DHEZ provides business incubation and acceleration facilities specifically designed to help SMEs develop sustainable digital health ideas.
On the night people had the chance to look around the facility, meet stakeholders, partners and members of the DHEZ team who will be supporting businesses in the Digital Exchange. There was a series of short presentations from stakeholders too.
Ian Sharp, newly appointed CEO of the company which will run the Digital exchange: DHEZ Ltd, is delighted with achievements so far, ‘This conversion is the first of two spaces being developed by DHEZ to create a community of businesses, academics, health professionals and people that will help design innovative solutions to improve the health of people in our region and the world.
Ian is keen to reach out to SMEs and entrepreneurs working in digital technologies who want to develop products that can help meet the challenges of the health and care sector. ‘We can help them in two ways. We are already working closely with the health sector to identify very specific areas where digital technology can deliver solutions.
‘We can use this information to help digital entrepreneurs focus their efforts on products that will have an immediate impact. We can also work with more established digital products to look at ways in which they can work with relevant health specialists as well as academics.
‘By doing this we can ensure that digital enterprise answers existing challenges, and help to fast-track existing projects by applying them to real-world situations.
‘Qualifying businesses and start-ups will be able to join incubation and accelerator programmes, as well as get access to investor-led events and development workshops to help get their idea or product off the ground. We can help with routes to market through blue chip organisations like BT, clinical commissioning groups in the NHS, and international contacts and partners. The building is also the registered centre for the Yorkshire arm of the Digital Catapult who will help members with data sharing requirements for their innovations.
The Digital Exchange is a beautifully updated former textiles warehouse upgraded to create a high-quality business incubator with access to the latest technology. It will bring small and emerging businesses together in an open innovation environment. This development is an exciting step towards the Leeds City Region becoming the centre of a thriving digital health industry.
As well as an official opening as part of a 2-day Digital Health Festival scheduled for 29 and 30 June, the DHEZ is planning an exciting series of collaborative workshops going forward, and wants to encourage digital entrepreneurs to come and use the space to work on new ideas, collaborations and innovation.
‘So if you have a digital product or service that you think might be able to make a difference in health and care services – get in touch. If you want to find out what health professionals really need from digital innovation – come and see us!’
L-R: Ian Sharp, Neil Crockett, Taz Aldawoud, Kersten England, Trevor Higgins, Mike Blackburn