In this edition of Tech Map Tours, we’re taking a look at the Leeds-based organisations developing Tech For Good, and shining a light on some of the people and technology within the city that are making the world a better place.
First stop on the Tech For Good tour is Holbeck-based non-profit Lhasa. Residing at the intersection of Tech For Good and Healthtech on the Leeds Tech Map, Lhasa provides bespoke analytics software to the life sciences industry that enables scientifically robust decisions to be made at speed, through provision of industry-standardised data.
Lhasa’s software solutions are designed for scientists by scientists, and feature a broad range of services that include everything from calculating purge factors in potentially mutagenic impurities, to a chemical database and information management system that offers rapid access to high-quality data from both published and proprietary sources.
One of the more established companies on the Leeds Tech Map, Lhasa’s collaborative approach and commitment to continuous improvement has enabled them to work closely with industry regulators over the past 40 years, and to develop a broad SaaS portfolio. Since its founding in 1983, Lhasa has maintained the position that sharing proprietary chemical data is key to delivering mutual benefit to the scientific community, and enabling further scientific innovation. A great place to kick off the Tech For Good line, we reckon!
Community Interest Company INC360 are on a mission to tackle loneliness, promote positive mental health and foster community participation in young people around the UK.
Founded on the principle that “everyone has a right to feel included”, INC360 works with mental health practitioners to provide interactive workshops for children aged 8-13 years that combine education, imagination and immersive 360º videos in order to combat isolation. Using state of the art video technology, the company creates immersive experiences for children whose circumstances prevent them from engaging with community events (like those receiving in-patient care), and allows them to take part in activities they would otherwise be excluded from – like attending a Firework display on Bonfire Night.
Since setting up the non-profit in 2019, Founder Steph Varley has already crowdfunded a pilot programme, created three funded placements for University students in the city, and graduated from the Ad:Venture Max Accelerator. The Pilot programme – which ran in the Spring of 2020 – saw Steph’s crowdfunding efforts come to fruition through a series of interviews, focus groups and trial workshops with teachers, parents and youth workers in order to shape the INC360 offering.
Steph is currently pursuing further funding to finance the next stage of research and scale the project, and is looking to bring in contributors with expertise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Anxiety, Youth Mental Health, Immersive Technology and Bid Writing. If that sounds like you, and you’re interested in improving the lives of young people around the UK, get in touch with the INC360 team today. You can find out more about INC360’s plans for the future in Putting Leeds Tech on the Map with: Steph Varley.
Next stop on the tour is Propel@YH – a digital accelerator programme for SME’s operating in the healthtech space, run by the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). The programme provides a select number of organisations helping to pioneer digital health solutions with access to a structured course of support and advice – enabling them to grow their organisation, increase market presence, and ultimately improve patient care around the UK. Some examples of the support given in 2020 include; providing 10 companies with 12 months of co-working space, facilitating 15 collaborations, and creating 3 new jobs.
In addition to improving the health of the region’s population, the accelerator hopes to support health service transformation and speed up the process of innovation by creating strong links between the NHS, Higher Education institutions and industry. The programme already has an impressive list of graduates, with the 2020 cohort featuring our friends at Seeai – who use AI technology to support early fracture diagnosis – and other innovative companies like Written Medicine, who provide a pharmacy label and discharge summary translation system (that works across 11 different languages) that helps patients to understand medical terminology at home.
New for 2021, Propel@YH Net Zero is a sustainable health accelerator pilot that seeks to align digital innovation with the sustainability movement. Targeted at SME’s who either have new innovations that can support the NHS’ drive towards ‘net zero’, or who have existing products that can be made more sustainable, the pilot programme will help to push the green agenda by supporting innovative health services (like Automedi, Dignio, and Patient Knows Best) that are designed with the environment in mind.
Final stop on the whistle-stop tour of Tech For Good here in Leeds is Studio12 – a digital media project for people aged 16–30 that provides free access to a production studio, one-on-one training, accredited qualifications and access to creative professionals for all of its participants.
Run by Leeds Central Library, the project gives priority access to the city’s residents not currently employed or in education, in order to forge new opportunities within creative industries, and help provide valuable training and experience to take forward into future careers. The library houses a fully-equipped studio with a wide range of multimedia, video, photography, music equipment and software packages, and people accessing Studio12 are encouraged and supported to work towards attaining an accredited qualification though NOCN and Arts Award in Audio Visual Media Production. The project also works closely with organisations in the Leeds ecosystem to showcase participants’ work at live events in the city centre and online events around the world.