Social Enterprise Ignition Funding Opportunity – 2016

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

Social Entrepreneurs are born out of the desire to improve the world and make it a better place. They may see problems in their community and undertake activity to solve it. A social enterprise simply delivers this solution and vision.

Since 2012 we have granted 46 awards allocating over £155000 to Social Entrepreneurs across the University.

We are now seeking to ignite the next generation of individuals interested in pursuing a social business:

  • Are you currently working or studying at The University of Manchester or a recent graduate?
  • Is your idea likely to benefit the public or community, or be an entrepreneurial solution to a societal, healthcare or environmental problem?
  • Do you have the passion to drive your idea forward and set up a project or social business?*Please provide your full contact details, job title or student status and a brief outline of your idea

To find out more about this funding call, please register* your interest by email to by the 23rd September 2016

*Please provide your full contact details, job title or student status and a brief outline of your idea

Please see our PDF flyer here

Environnement S.A Group acquires TDL  Sensors Ltd

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Environnement S.A. Group, leading European supplier of environmental monitoring equipment, and the company TDL Sensors Ltd, high technology innovative company supplying laser based monitors for industrial applications, are proud to announce the acquisition of TDL Sensors Ltd by Environnement S.A. Group. It allows the enlarged group to offer worldwide, the most advanced and wide range of solutions to match present and future challenges in respect of process or regulatory environmental monitoring requirements for industries.

This alliance will immediately contribute to the market release of a new range of innovative laser based emission monitors such as ultra-low detection of HCI emissions, and accelerate both Research and Development in joint projects.

Environnement S.A. Group commitment to the development of advanced instrumentation for global market is reinforced with the acquisition of TDL Ltd. TDL Ltd will retain its current management team and employees and plans to recruit additional product development professionals.

The management of TDL Ltd and the broader Environnement S.A. Group (including its existing UK subsidiary PCME Ltd) will focus efforts to the anticipated strong growth provided by synergies within the Group. It will benefit their respective customers, partners and employees in terms of expertise, quality and services.

François Gourdon, President and founder of Environnement S.A. declares “We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities that we’ll be able to provide to our worldwide customers. The expertise of TDL Sensors Ltd through Tunable lasers (including cascade lasers) for the monitoring of high-resolution gas concentration in industrial processes, combined with the expertise of Environnement S.A. Group in the monitoring of gas and particulate, will definitively help to anticipate the worldwide requirements for much lower emissions.”

Roger Benson, Chairman of TDL Sensors Ltd adds: “This strong partnership announced today will boost TDL Sensors Ltd growth plan and strategy, allowing our technology to reach new customers and new markets, while strengthening our capacity to develop new applications (on road vehicle emissions, carbon policies and carbon trade monitoring devices…)”.


Environnement S.A., the European leading manufacturer of on-line environmental monitors whose headquarters are based in Poissy (France), is a Public company since January 2006 listed on NYSE-Alternext.

Founded in 1978, the Environnement S.A. Group provides solutions to public and industrial decision makers responsible for environmental policy and compliance, helping them monitor and evaluate their ecological footprint. The company has developed advanced expertise in the following continuous monitoring fields: air quality, industrial emission, engine gas, water quality and radionuclide.

About TDL Sensors Ltd (

TDL Sensors Ltd was founded in 1999 and spun out of the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Manchester, to develop a tunable diode laser based gas analyzers. In the following years, TDL Sensors Ltd have developed measurement solutions for the glass coating industry, ultra-harsh processes, enclosed atmospheres for the protection of personnel, trace gas monitoring for the oil and gas industries and for the optimization of combustion in Steel Industries.


The staged acquisition of Phagenesis by Nestlé Health Science will benefit patients with dysphagia

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Manchester, England, 1 September 2016 – Nestlé Health Science (NHSc) and Phagenesis announced today that NHSc is entering into a staged, milestone-based acquisition of Phagenesis, a medical device company that has developed a new treatment for dysphagia.

Under the terms of the agreement, NHSc will make an upfront payment, followed by milestone-based funding, while Phagenesis completes the clinical evaluation of Phagenyx®*. The staged acquisition will be based upon successful completion of European and US development programs anticipated by 2019. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Reinhard Krickl, CEO of Phagenesis, said: “Nestlé Health Science is the leading global player in dysphagia with capabilities and reach to enable Phagenesis to accelerate the development and deployment of Phagenyx® to patients around the world.”

Dysphagia, the inability to swallow safely, is a condition with high prevalence as well as high clinical and health economic burden. Dysphagia occurs in around 29% to 55% of stroke patients1, with 15 million people worldwide suffering a stroke2 every year. It is also a common consequence of numerous other diseases, and is often under-diagnosed in various patient populations, e.g. in the ICU. Dysphagia is a debilitating condition that frequently leads to life-threatening complications, including aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition and dehydration. Furthermore, patients with dysphagia experience a dramatic reduction in Quality-of-Life3.

Oern Stuge, Chairman of Phagenesis, said: “Nestlé Health Science’ investment positions the company well to address this immense unmet medical need.”

Currently, the management of neurogenic dysphagia is complex. Available options can improve the status and the symptoms, but few are treating the cause. Phagenesis has developed Phagenyx®, a novel medical device designed to restore the neurological control of swallowing. Phagenyx® is based on ground breaking research that establishes a mechanism of action of delivering Pharyngeal Electrical Stimulation (PES) to treat the neurological cause of dysphagia.

Gunnar Weikert, Director of Phagenesis and Founder of Inventages Venture Capital, commented: “As a long-term investor in Phagenesis we are pleased about this significant investment by Nestle Health Science.”

Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science, stated: “Dysphagia is a strategic focus for Nestlé Health Science. This innovation can bring a new dimension to swallowing rehabilitation that can be transformational from a patient and healthcare professional perspective.” 


* Phagenyx® is CE marked in Europe. In the United States, Phagenyx® is currently not available for sales.


1       Martino, R., Foley N., Bhogalet S. et al. Dysphagia after stroke: incidence, diagnosis, and pulmonary complications. Stroke 2005; 36, 2756–2763.


3       Marik P et al. Aspiration Pneumonia and Dysphagia in the Elderly. Chest 2003.124;328-336.


Rafi-tone app set to help millions of children with asthma

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Dr Aslam with son, Rafi

Dr Aslam with son, Rafi

Children with asthma will soon be able to breathe easier thanks to an interactive app created by a University of Manchester spin-out company.

Tariq Aslam, an eye doctor, invented Rafi-tone after his son Rafi suffered with breathing problems.

The Rafi-tone app, available on i-Phone and Android devices, helps children accept their mask and engage with taking medication by involving them in an onscreen fun animated game.

When a whistle sound is emitted by the mask – signaling that the child is breathing and inhaling medication with a spacer correctly – an onscreen ‘Rafi’ fights off attacking colourful cartoon-style baddies.



Prof Aslam, a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the University of Manchester and Central Manchester Foundation Trust (CMFT), said his son Rafi’s breathing struggles caused a lot of anxiety for both himself and his wife.

“His condition caused a lot of worry for us – we hated to see him suffer,” he said. “And to make things worse he hated spacers and would push them away and we were concerned he was not getting the medication. There were tears all round.

“After one particular occasion when Rafi struggled for breath I decided to get straight to work – which involved trying to design and align bits of software, hardware and electronics to his spacer.”

He added: “Soon, Rafi was using his spacer while looking at a phone screen which showed simple images when he breathed correctly into the spacer.

“Despite it being in the early hours of the morning, instead of the usual tears and screams he was distracted and engaged with the screen display and took the medication silently and properly. I was amazed to hear him say ‘that was really good daddy, can we do it again in the morning’, before he turned and fell asleep.”

 It was after that, that Rafi-Tone – which also stands for ‘Respiratory Aid For Inhalers’ – was born.

Prof Aslam, determined to learn new programming languages to develop and improve the app, produced algorithms to control cartoon characters that reacted when his son Rafi breathed in using his spacer.

He was supported and advised by Clare Murray, a Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician who helped to set up the initial trials for testing at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and ensure the program would give maximum benefit to patients.

Further testing and guidance was provided by paediatrician Shaila Sukthankar and by Margaret Cuffwright, a specialist health visitor in paediatric asthma.

He was also supported by Mark Sanders, Managing Director of Clement Clarke International – a leading respiratory device manufacturer who helped ensure the final arrangement would work with modern devices.

The system evolved through many versions during clinical testing by children at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, until the current optimal Rafi-tone app was created.

The Rafi-tone app is University of Manchester spin-out company Clin-E-Cal’s first product. It works in conjunction with the ‘Flo-Tone’ mask which attaches to the Able Spacer. These are made by Clement Clarke, a company with a long history of producing respiratory devices

Prof Aslam said: “These are exciting times as we expect the Rafi-tone system to be available in September to all children who are prescribed an Able Spacer with small mask.

“There’s nothing that would make me happier than to hear about patients using devices or technologies that I’ve developed and it having a positive impact on them.”

Prof Aslam described the crucial support he received from The University of Manchester’s technology transfer office, UMIP, and especially from IP development and partnering manager, Dr Lizzie Crawford, who helped with the development of the product to something that could be delivered to patients in a sustainable way.

Driven by her own experiences with her son and by the positive reactions of patients and carers she is now focused on delivering the potential of the Rafi-tone technology to other groups of respiratory patients.

Funding was provided by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT), Innovate UK, UMIP Pathfinder Funding which has helped develop the technology and determine the commercial plans and route to market.

For further information, please see Clin-E-Cal’s website


Innovation Optimiser – Empowering Innovators

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The Innovation Optimiser has successfully completed its first pilot year and has engaged with over 80 University of Manchester innovators. Developed by UMIP, to complement its IP Commercialisation activity, the Innovation Optimiser has been designed to support academics, staff and research students who may have an idea for a commercial start-up or social enterprise.

It encompasses a wide range of support including; Ignition speaker sessions, the Roadmap workshop programme, Momentum activity, the Spotlight series and our range of Partners and dedicated Enterprise Team.


 Roadmap graduates from the 1st cohort

Roadmap graduates from the 1st cohort

“To encourage and inspire more people to turn their ideas into reality we have introduced the Innovation Optimiser. Academic, staff and research student innovators can have a profound impact on society and we’re privileged to work with them to bring their ideas to fruition. Through support from the Innovation Optimiser, our colleagues have demonstrated that you do not necessarily need to sacrifice academic freedom or studies to bring your discoveries to market,” comments Tony Walker, (Director of the Innovation Optimiser).




As part of the Innovation Optimiser process, innovators sign up to the signature workshop programme Roadmap which lies at the core of our support. Delivered by Ian Brookes, (DNA People) it features a series of half day workshops over five months covering everything from balancing academia and entrepreneurship to launching an enterprise.

Roadmap graduates from the 2nd cohort

Roadmap graduates from the 2nd cohort

“The Roadmap workshops helped me to define a value proposition for my venture and develop a business plan. I also learnt how to pitch my research and look for funding. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone that requires guidance with regards to entrepreneurship.” – Roadmap graduate

Going forward we look forward to supporting our current projects through their next phase of development. As of August 2016 we will welcome new projects into the Innovation Optimiser. If you are an academic, a member of staff or research student from The University of Manchester, and have the basis of a viable business or social venture, then we want to hear from you.

To find out more, contact one of the Innovation Optimiser team:

Ellie Buckley, Enterprise Development Executive or 0161 606 7265

Laura Etchells, Enterprise Development Manager or 0161 606 7264

Tony Walker, Director of Innovation Optimiser, or 0161 603 7780


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