Article

Social entrepreneurs scoop first and second

29 September 2017
Professor Lorna Paul and GCU graduate Callum MacKinnon

An online physiotherapy service to help people who suffer from neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory or orthopaedic conditions has won the Social Enterprise category at the Converge Challenge Awards.

Glasgow Caledonian University‘s Professor Lorna Paul scooped first prize for her online Web Based Physio  platform, while former student Callum MacKinnon received  the runner-up prize for his social business, The Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC, which helps children and adults with additional support needs by using a trampoline for therapeutic use.

Web Based Physio is the brainchild of Professor Paul and was created to give patients greater access to physiotherapy. The spin-out company was originally developed while Professor Paul was working at the University of Glasgow, where she recognised that patients with long-term conditions often had problems accessing physiotherapy because of where they lived, family or work commitments or because of cultural or language issues. 

With research showing that many of the patients’ prognoses could improve with increased physiotherapy, she created a digital space for sharing expert advice which reaches patients from all over the world.

She said: “Having worked in physiotherapy for more than 25 years, we developed webbasedphysio.com to offer patients a simple, easy-to-use, personalised exercise programme to give them the opportunity to self-manage on a long-term basis.

"Unlike other online forums, which offer expertise and advice, the patient is assessed by a qualified physiotherapist and their individual programme is set up to meet their requirements. This is monitored by a physiotherapist and their journey is fully supported with their progress monitored and altered. It is this very personal service, backed up by robust research and a qualified expert, which makes our platform so successful.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP gave the final keynote speech which celebrates start-ups and businesses ideas and is aimed at creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Runner-up Callum said: “To have this recognition is valuable as I am still within the first year of trading as a business. UHatch, the University’s social enterprise incubator, has been an invaluable resource, allowing me to use office space and network with other business-minded individuals.”

Professor John Lennon, Director of the University’s incubator space, UHatch, which supports entrepreneurial students, graduates and staff members, congratulated Professor Paul and Callum.

He said: "Universities are a great hub for creative ideas and successful spin-out companies, and we are delighted to see students and staff embrace entrepreneurship with a social conscience. Congratulations to Professor Lorna Paul and Callum MacKinnon. To have a winner and runner-up in the social enterprise category is very encouraging and reaffirms our commitment to the common good and the centrality of social business to our University’s mission. “