I’m in Acton to film Rebecca Bright, the founder of Therapy Box who won a 2014 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category. The award was given in recognition of a range of specialist software applications (Apps) to aid people with disabilities. Used in conjunction with iPads and computer tablets, the apps facilitate computer access.
They launched their first app in 2011 when Rebecca realised there was a need for low-cost, discrete alternatives to the bulky, expensive computers used previously to give a voice to people with cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease or similar conditions. She spoke about this to Swapnil Gadgil, a telecoms executive, who agreed and together they co-founded Therapy Box. One of their apps in the new range enables an iPad to be controlled by puffs of air, slight head movements or finger tapping. Thus, severely disabled people can send emails, participate in social media activities and have their own speech augmented.
Other apps aid control of domestic environments, including changing channels on televisions and operating doors.
As well as English they now have Apps in 6 other languages and sell to 35 countries.
In today’s film I ask Rebecca to run through the Innovation entry form from the point of view of a recent winner! It’s a short film, 3 minutes in total but I think there is some great advice given. Therapy Box has a busy office, so apologies in advance for the background noises!
Hi. I'm Rebecca Bright from Therapy Box.
We were fortunate enough to be a winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category this year.
I wanted to chat to you about some of the suggestions we have about putting together your entry.
I've got the paper version here, but of course you need to do it online.
This might form a useful basis for completing your entry... and being prepared to put your entry together.
One of the suggestions I would make would be to go through the form before you start to tackle it. It's quite a lot of work to put your entry in, so you do need to make sure you've got the necessary time to spend on it and you're not doing a last-minute rush.
One of my suggestions would be to make sure that you really speak from your own perspective. Get somebody who's working on the business to do it. You can certainly outsource these sort of functions to PR companies and agencies... but I would say you know your company best and you're going to know the answers for the business. Speak from your own experience and your knowledge of your company. It's going to be easy for a PR company to put a spin on things and to present it in a nice way, but I think the best way forward is to do an honest appraisal from your own perspective.
One of the other suggestions I would give is to to talk very clearly about your business to somebody who perhaps doesn't understand your industry. For example we work in the field of assistive technology, and for some people they're not going to be familiar with that... So set out very plainly and clearly what you do, expecting that the person reading your entry is not familiar at all. Avoid jargon and industry terms that they're not going to be so familiar with.
I think the other thing to do is to check with your accountant, because you're going to need some of the financials to put into your form. I certainly went over that in detail with my accountant before we submitted the entry. He or she is going to have very easy access to that information, which you'll be able to include.
Lastly, I would recommend reading over your entry and making sure it's cohesive, and that the message that you're wanting to convey about how your business works, what it does well - and in our case, what was innovative about the business - comes across very clearly. So have somebody else to read it, perhaps someone who's not familiar with your company, to get that perspective.
They're my tips. All I can do is to encourage you to submit your entry. It's certainly something we've felt the benefit of so far and it was well worth the time and effort.