NZTE seeks 10 Orion wannabees for $500,000 US road-trip
New Zealand Trade & Enterprise is looking for companies with heath products or services that - with a little help - could crack a US healthcare market bulging with billions from the Obama stimulus package.
The idea is to foster the next Orion Health - the Auckland company that has grown to be New Zealand’s largest software company, with a workforce of around 300 - largely through its success in the US healthcare market.
NTZE’s Focus on Health challenge is calling for contenders to submit business plans by August 31.
For 10 finalists, there will $500,000 in cash and kind prizes, including a June 2010 road-trip around the US to meet potential investors, partners and buyers.
Jay Srini, Chief Innovation Officer for UPMC Insurance Services Division in Pittsburgh, and one of the competition’s international judges, told NBR that the challenge is open to people and companies across the board.
It could come from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, a software company, a pharma bio-tech, or a GP with a bright idea but no concept of how to turn it into a business plan.
The only criteria are that they are a New Zealander or New Zealand company with a novel idea that has not yet been commercialised in the US.
It be a breakthrough in robotic surgery; any advance that helps speed the adoption of technology in a practice with five or fewer doctors (the sector Ms Srini identifies as the least advanced in the US); or any innovation that address long term trends in the US, such as the aging of the baby boomers and the attendant focus on chronic disease management.
The fragmented nature of the US healthcare market also leaves many opportunities in areas such as applying business intelligence (Orion Health’s software, for example, draws together patient records and other files held in hundreds - or even thousands - of systems within one hospital).
NZTE Sector Director Hans Frauenlob says while there are a lot of business plan competition’s around, Focus on Health’s 12-month, two-round approach sees a higher level of feedback and coaching.
For the 10 who make the US road trip, “The message we’ve had back from overseas colleagues is the importance of market feedback,” says Mr Frauenlob. “You might find the idea you thought was unique isn’t, or needs further shaping towards the needs of a particular market - and you’ll find out before you’ve gone too far down the product development path.”
Business plans must be between 1 and 5 pages long. Templates and other entry information are on the Health Challenge website.