The international market is becoming more important than ever for UK healthtech businesses and having an NHS customer in place really helps. This is one of several key points made at the recent AHSN Network Get Export Ready: International Support for Health Innovators event, held on 10 June.
Led by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, Eastern AHSN and UCLPartners, the event saw 60 delegates attend, providing an opportunity for SMEs to receive advice and guidance on how they can successfully break into global healthtech markets.
The event featured key speakers from SMEs who discussed their successful journeys into the international market and highlighted some of the lessons they picked up along the way. Delegates also heard from experts from the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), Healthcare UK, part of the Department of International Trade (DIT) and the AHSN Network, who explained the help available to companies. Delegates then had the opportunity to ask questions in breakout sessions.
Key messages from the speakers included:
- There is a wealth of support and advice out there for you to use: foreign embassies, Healthcare UK, AHSN Network, ABHI.
- Be clear on who you want to work with and align the solution to the needs of the country you are wanting to export to.
- A lot of what is important in the UK is important in other countries – placed based care and emphasis on prevention are two examples.
- If you’re already working with the NHS, then you are already at an advantage.
Dr Neville Young, Director of Innovation and Enterprise at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “Part of the AHSN Network’s role is advising SMEs with proven innovations on how they can spread their product not just across the UK, but also internationally.
“The NHS is a valuable but tough market to break into – but this is where the AHSN Network can help with advice and support and I’m delighted to have been able to be part of this event to help give businesses an international platform for their innovations.”
Key speaker and CEO of ORCHA, Liz Ashall-Payne, took delegates through the company’s journey working with the AHSN Network and said:
“It can feel a little bit overwhelming [….] but there is some amazing support available [… ] freely available and it is so valuable. The AHSNs have supported us right from day one to really establish ourselves within this country and then support that as a launch pad into other countries.”
Hassan Choudhury, Digital Health Specialist, Healthcare UK said:
“We’re looking for proven technologies; those who are part of the UK DNA, part of the UK story and to me, any organisation that comes from the AHSN Network or the ABHI is already trusted.”
Stuart Thomson, Managing Director at Medovate said:
“The AHSNs were really helpful and instrumental in our product development pathway. The AHSNs offer innovation accelerator programmes and navigator programmes. For us, the real benefit was being able to sit down with clinical leaders and when we wanted to find independent clinicians to test our products and understand if they were working in the right way, the AHSNs facilitated those contacts so that we could engage with those clinicians.”