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WORLD LEADING BUSINESS SUPPORT

Brian Mwenda

Hope Tech Plus

Life-changing wearable tech for the visually impaired

Brian Mwenda – Hope Tech Plus play

“The one-to-one support from the mentors has been the most valuable part – just someone who can give you direct advice very quickly on what to work on in the business.”

Overview

Hope Tech plus develops assistive technology for the visually impaired. The technology is designed to improve independent mobility for visually impaired people. Most visually impaired people require either a guide, a white cane, or a guide dog. Hope Tech’s devices improve independence by scanning the environment and feeding back with a low vibration where there are obstacles. The first product: The Fourth Eye, is a handheld device that works like a torch, by pointing in the direction of travel, this product has had success in the Indian and African markets. The second product: The Sixth Sense, is a wearable device which can be worn on clothing at chest level to scan the environment for obstacles. This device has global potential and the LIF+ programme has been supporting Hope Tech Plus to understand how to take this product to international markets.

Country of Origin: Kenya

Website: www.hopetechplus.com

People in the team: 9

The most valuable parts of the LIF+ programme

  • Help to identify potential new markets
  • Understanding regulatory landscapes
  • Accessing a wide network of peers, mentors and alumni
  • Intellectual Property expertise and funding
  • Mentoring and motivation to keep focus and accelerate growth
  • Gaining valuable business acumen

Brian Mwenda

“I think what was advertised is exactly what we got, and maybe a bit more, support to learn more about the MedTech, and assistive technology space – not only in the UK, but in Thailand, India, and so many other countries around the world. It has been extremely useful for me, especially to understand how to get the correct regulations for a MedTech product and how to get it into the market.”

“The SETsquared network is very wide, and anyone you want to reach is basically only one or two connections away, and that has been extremely useful for me. Something very tangible was the IP support that we received. We are currently registering our patents, which is something that I had never done before. Through the programme, I was able to receive support and funding to do the novelty search, and now we are going to register the patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Without the LIF+ programme, it would have taken much more time and resource, so it has been extremely useful.”

“This last year has been extremely challenging for many businesses because of the pandemic, but because of the LIF+ programme we were able to think around that and very quickly and identify areas to work on. The one-to-one support from the mentors has been the most valuable part – just someone who can give you direct advice very quickly on what to work on in the business. I think the programme has helped us to move ahead, despite a challenging situation.”

“Right now, we are getting support to register a company in the UK. The short-term plan is to do trials, continue product development, and pursue clinical certification to launch the Sixth Sense device in the UK. We will then look to scale into Europe and maybe then other countries. We’re looking forward to interacting with visually impaired people directly, and seeing the product in action in the UK, and in other countries; that’s what I’m most interested in.”

SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey