Six teams of young entrepreneurs went head to head in the first Care Innovation Challenge (CIC) at the Department of Health and Social Care.
University of Portsmouth PHD student Hassan Zaidi took first prize after wowing the distinguished panel of care leaders with his wearable falls sensor.
Hassan, who won £5,000 and six months of intensive support to turn his concept into a fledgling business, told CHP: “It’s incredible. Four weeks ago when I started this challenge I had no idea I would get to this stage.”
A wide range of innovative ideas for the sector were put forward to the panel of judges who included Hallmark managing director Avnish Goyal and MHA director of quality Annie Webber.
Avnish said: “I think it’s phenomenal what’s been showcased and achieved today. This is a huge start for new ideas that are to come through and bear fruit in future years.
“The sector needs solutions to some of its problems. There’s not enough innovation currently, we are too busy doing the day job. We need to work collaboratively with these young people and support them in any way we can to ensure they can be successful and help us provide better care for our residents and offer better environments for our teams to work in.”
Innovations included a digital platform providing personalised residents’ activities, an age simulation suit training programme, a sensor monitoring system, an App based carer mentoring system and bed sensor system.
The two runners up in the challenge will present their ideas along with Hassan at the National Care Forum this month.
CIC co-founder Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! Wellness, said: “It’s wonderful to bring such great young people with such vision and values into the sector. They have brought great ideas and real innovation and have not been hindered by any preconceived conception of what care should be. They just want to know how they can make someone’s life better.
“We want to be a big part of bringing innovation into the sector and working with aspiring, entrepreneurial young people is a great way of doing that.”