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Northumbria support aids growth for health business

8th March 2022

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Support from Northumbria University, Newcastle, has helped a graduate start-up business specialising in employee health, wellbeing and performance to expand, develop new products and create jobs.  

Founded in 2018 by Northumbria PhD graduate Dr Phill Bell and his business partner Dr Paul Smith, Gateshead-based ART Health Solutions works with a growing client base – including multinational companies – to improve the working environment, health and performance of employees through the use of scientific data collected via wearable technology and a sophisticated cognitive performance mobile app.

As a fledgling but growing business, ART turned to Northumbria for help in areas including acquiring larger premises, legal advice and assistance in accessing funding. Northumbria has also facilitated a Government-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), providing ART Health Solutions with a skilled KTP Associate on a two-year placement. And building on its success even further, ART Health Solutions has also just secured £800,000 from a venture fund to help accelerate the next stage of its growth, including the further development of their AI driven wellbeing and performance app.

Dr Bell, who is also a guest lecturer at Northumbria in sport and exercise science, said: “Working with Northumbria, both with the Graduate Futures and the Business Enterprise teams, has always been extremely easy and rewarding. We started our business in an accelerator hub but needed to relocate when we outgrew it. Making such a move for any developing business can be daunting, and Northumbria’s assistance in finding a suitable premises, negotiating the legal work and accessing available funding was incredibly helpful.

“We were also outsourcing a lot of our technical systems and processes and wanted to bring elements of this in-house to accelerate development, improve efficiency and reduce costs. The KTP with Northumbria has allowed us to do that and we now have KTP Associate, Rohit Venugopal, working with us for two years as an Artificial Intelligence and Software Development engineer. As our KTP Associate, and with support from academics from Northumbria, he is undertaking valuable work on our AI and other technical developments that will support further business growth. In essence we needed a good techy and when every penny counts, this was a great solution.”

ART Health Solutions currently has 11 employees, including a number of Northumbria graduates, and Dr Bell expects this number to grow as the company continues to expand.

KTPs are part-funded programmes offered through the Government’s innovation agency Innovate UK. They are designed to enable collaboration between academia and industry, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology to increase competitivity and to promote an innovation culture.  Northumbria has a long track record of successfully collaborating with small and large businesses on KTPs.

Northumbria can also offer support to SMEs and graduate enterprises through the Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support 2 (NEBS2) scheme. Available to businesses in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, NEBS2 will run until June 23. It offers a package of services, including financial assistance for internships and expert business advice, to enhance the competitiveness and growth opportunities of SMEs and start-ups.

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