Warwick Social Entrepreneurs win Big Venture Challenge
5 June 2013
Two University of Warwick academics have been recognised as being among the UK’s top social entrepreneurs by the social enterprise network, UnLtd.
Professor Sudhesh Kumar (right) and Dr Vinod Patel, both specialists in diabetes in the Warwick Medical School, were named among UnLtd’s Big Venture Challenge winners 2013, for their work in the social enterprise Apnee Sehat.
Apnee Sehat, which means ‘Our Health’, spun out of the University of Warwick in 2005, with support and investment from Warwick Ventures, the University’s commercialisation arm. The organisation aims to raise awareness of and help prevent conditions such as vascular disease and diabetes among Britain’s South Asian Community by encouraging preventative life style changes.
The UK has a South Asian population of more than 4.2 million and this group is 6 times more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than British Europeans. Apnee Sehat is led by professional clinicians who provide specialist, culturally sensitive education, self-care and screening programmes to vulnerable groups, improving their wellbeing, and reducing the demand for NHS services.
Through UnLtd, winners of the Big Venture Challenge will get access to match funding, intensive investment readiness support, and valuable networking opportunities, which will allow Apnee Sehat to expand the range and reach of its activities.
Julie Devonshire, Director of Ventures at UnLtd, said: “Our winners are rising to the challenge of providing innovative solutions to some of the greatest challenges we are facing in society today. The talent and ideas of these amazing entrepreneurs are going to be unleashed by the Big Venture Challenge to provide social impact at scale and we’re really excited at UnLtd to be working with them.”
Quentin Compton Bishop, Director of Warwick Ventures, said: “As a founding partner, the University of Warwick is delighted to invest in Apnee Sehat. Its tailored approach to improving patient experience and treatment outcomes in diabetes care for the South Asian community should lead to improved quality of life and life expectancy and should be more cost-effective overall.”