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If your company is thinking to take part in the Accelerator programme it 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.

  1. What support does the Accelerator offer?
  2. What stage of development do companies have to be to apply?
  3. Is my company eligible to take part in the Accelerator?
  4. What is the application process?
  5. Criteria used to assess companies' applications to the Accelerator?
  6. What is the difference between the East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)?
  7. Does the Accelerator provide funding?
  8. How does participation affect compliance with state aid rules?
  9. Does the Accelerator take equity or invest in companies?

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 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. Support 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 stage of development do companies have to be to apply?

We consider applications from companies at all stages of the innovation cycle, although the application form will consider whether companies can demonstrate the product and the key developments needed to bring it to market.

Our emphasis in considering companies’ suitability focuses on three areas:

  • Credibility of business model.
  • NHS need, and potential to help provide appropriate solutions.
  • Potential to benefit from the programme.

Is my company eligible to take part in the Accelerator?

Companies must demonstrate their commitment to the East Midlands and ability to build relationships within the region.

Companies must also demonstrate compliance with the EU definition of “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 the Accelerator. Unfortunately, we cannot accept sole-traders.

What is the application process?

The application process consists of two stages:

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 an interview.

Interviews: Applicants successful in the online application stage will be invited to interviews which may include a panel of experts from across the healthcare, commercial and technology sectors.

Criteria used to access companies' applications to the Accelerator 

Companies initially apply using an online portal and are shortlisted against specific criteria. The top scoring companies at this stage are offered an interview.
At the interview stage, companies may be interviewed by a panel of 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 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.

What is the difference between the East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)?

The East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) are both designed to increase innovation uptake in the NHS. The two programmes complement one another.

However, there are some key differences in the support each offers:

  • The East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator works solely with digital health innovators, whereas the NIA works with health innovators of any type
  • The East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator considers applications from companies at any phase of the innovation cycle, whereas the NIA works with innovations that are ready to scale
  • The East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator focuses on companies, whereas the NIA focuses on individuals

Does the Accelerator provide funding?

The Accelerator can connect companies to relevant funding opportunities, but does not provide direct funding.

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.

Does the Accelerator take equity or invest in companies?

No.

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