Businesses are being urged to get behind a three-year collaborative programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to improve health and care across the City Region. By working with the £1.9 million Health Matters programme, businesses can take advantage of knowledge and expertise within the partnership to help develop solutions to challenges, receive guidance on funding opportunities as well as navigating the health ecosystem; whilst also providing real-world validation of products and services, showing evidence of impact and benefits. Health and Life Sciences is one of the biggest and fastest-growing sectors in the world and the overall aim of the programme is to catalyse businesses in the Liverpool City Region to become market leaders in health, well-being and care by encouraging the development of products, services and solutions. The launch event was aimed at promoting the programme and encouraging local businesses to take advantage of the support on offer. Held on Tuesday 17th September at Liverpool John Moores University’s Redmond’s Building, over 80 attendees heard from Dr Liz Mear, chief executive at programme partner the Innovation Agency, and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Business leaders already working in this field, including Phil Blything, founder of Glow New Media, James Chapman, Director of Safe Steps, and Phil Bridges, founder of Mind Map, also addressed guests. Over the three years of its delivery, the programme aims to provide support for 70 businesses in the Liverpool City Region. To be eligible, businesses must be looking to develop products or services within the health and care sectors and be based within the areas that make up the Liverpool City Region: Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Halton, Knowsley and Wirral. Dr Mear said: “Building on earlier programmes, LCR Health Matters will support innovative Liverpool City Region businesses capable of moving into, or growing within, the health and care sectors with new or existing services or products. “LCR Health Matters will fill gaps in earlier programmes by providing mechanisms to validate the benefits of an innovation in a practical (real-world) setting, a key activity to support health system uptake. The programme will also support the region’s ambitions to address the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges and wider activities.” Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Health and Life Sciences sector is a major source of world-leading innovation in our city region. This programme will help build on our existing strengths by supporting local businesses to become market leaders in health, well-being and care, delivering solutions to health challenges as well as high-quality jobs for local people.” The Health Innovation Exchange programme is delivered through a partnership between Liverpool John Moores University, the Innovation Agency (the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast) and Liverpool City Region LEP. Pictured: Dr Liz Mear, chief executive, the Innovation Agency, Steve Rotheram Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and Mark Basnet, MD of Liverpool City Region LEP.