Dundee entrepreneur awarded £50k to develop innovative healthtech app

MyWay Digital Health co-founder Debbie Wake was invited to Downing Street to meet Theresa May and celebrate her win. Picture: Contributed
MyWay Digital Health co-founder Debbie Wake was invited to Downing Street to meet Theresa May and celebrate her win. Picture: Contributed
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A Dundee-based healthtech entrepreneur has emerged as the only Scottish business leader to secure grant funding and year-long support as part of the 2019 Women in Innovation Awards.

Debbie Wake, co-founder and chief medical officer of MyWay Digital Health, is one of nine female innovators to be awarded £50,000 as part of the competition, run by Innovate UK.

The winners will each receive a year-long package of bespoke support, coaching and mentoring to help further their businesses.

MyWay Digital Health provides diabetes patients with an app which enables them to monitor key health indicators and to receive advice for treatments “on the go”.

It is able to provide electronic health record access, remote glucose monitoring data linkage, and tailored, automated support to help patients manage their conditions.

Wake told The Scotsman: “I am delighted and honoured to be given this award. I hope that it will in some small way inspire more women into the innovation space.

“Almost 10 per cent of the world population has diabetes, and we hope this award will help shine a spotlight on our vital work, using technology to improve the lives of people with diabetes and significantly reduce the £2.5 trillion annual spend.

“Over 40,000 people in Scotland have now registered to use our MyDiabetesMyWay platform and we are implementing in large regions on NHS England with pipelines developing in the US and the Middle East where one in five people have the condition.”

A commemorative plaque is to be installed at Dundee’s Forfar Academy to honour Wake’s achievement and inspire young innovators in the community.

MyWay Digital Health, which spun out of the University of Dundee in 2017, has previously received funding from Converge Challenge and Scottish Edge.

The Women in Innovation Awards seek to support female innovators who are tackling “some of the biggest challenges facing society” as set out in the UK government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

Sheana Yu, developer of a built-in wheelchair device that automatically adjusts to allow for better posture and comfort, and Agnes Czako, creator of a “smart tech” home ventilation system to reduce energy use, were also among this year’s winners.

Innovate UK executive chair Ian Campbell said: “Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards address a key barrier for diversity in innovation – a lack of female role models.

“By recognising their achievement with purple plaques, we are making sure that our nine newly crowned winners inspire the next generation of female innovators.

“Whether it’s inspiring young students showing a passion for STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics], someone with the spark of an idea, or an innovative business ready to be taken to the next level, the Women in Innovation 2019 campaign aims to drive long term, far reaching positive change.”

Registrations for funding from female innovators eligible for Innovate’s existing competitions have increased by around 70 per cent in the past four years.