After completing the first year in 2017, WE Health was running already in its second year in 2018. A year full of new ideas, supporters and participants lies behind us. The partners of IESE Business School in Barcelona, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, the Technical University Munich and Imperial College London, set out to further enhance the participation of women in health innovation and entrepreneurship activities.
In February, an ideation event in Barcelona helped us to dig deeper into the challenges and needs of women who are innovating in the healthcare industry - be it as an entrepreneur, scientist or manager. Based on the discussions and ideas created in these two days we adapted our 2018 activities.
- Three different Capacity Building Modules including training, networking and mentoring, as well as growing a Network of Women Health Innovators for all interested actors involved in women entrepreneurship and gender issues.
The three Capacity-Building Modules addressed the needs of different target groups. Participants were able to select the module that best met their needs. The modules were all packed with practical skill training and real-life experience sharing. Networking sessions and inspirational speakers complemented the workshops and allowed participants to exchange their experiences and connect with other women driving innovation in healthcare.
In mid-April, women striving to unlock their innovative potential got together at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm to explore their entrepreneurial ambitions. This first module in 2018 guided the participants through the “Business Model You” – Canvas and helped them in taking their first steps towards leadership and entrepreneurship in health innovation. The participants worked with inspirational speakers and through interactive learning techniques and coached reflections. The evenings were spent together exploring the female history of the Nobel prize and other informal networking gatherings.
At the beginning of June, the focus shifted to all the current and soon-to-be founders of healthcare startups. Under the topic of “Starting your Entrepreneurship Journey” female founders came together at the Technical University in Munich to address the entrepreneurial challenges when striving to found their own healthcare venture. The 2,5 days included challenging their business ideas and their value propositions, learning to convincingly pitch their ideas, as well as an introduction to the VC world and different networking techniques. It thereby provided the participants with the skills needed to convince others of the added value of their business idea. A panel discussion and a beer garden visit in the evening gave the possibility to get more into contact and make long-lasting contacts.
Lastly, the third module at IESE Business School in Barcelona completed the Capacity Building Programme with a module on “Empowering Women Leadership in Health Innovation” designed for female executives and innovators. By building on active learning methodologies, the participants engaged in intense debates on the key issues affecting leadership in healthcare. By training their communication skills, the module provided insights to shape the professional future and grow as women innovators and managers within their organizations. Various networking possibilities with invited speakers and other WE Health Alumnae accompanied the workshop sessions.
Besides the three modules offer, WE Health spread its network and got involved in several events like the Hacking Health Hackathon in Berlin in November, supporting teams to innovate in the field of female health or a workshop for female scientists in Stockholm that was conducted by Anna from the WE Health team. Moreover, former participants established regular meetups in Barcelona in order to stay in contact and grow the community beyond the workshops.
For 2019 we will continue our work with renewed enthusiasm thanks to the incorporation of many new partners such as Grenoble Ecole of Management, University of Barcelona, Medical University of Lodz, Fundación La Caixa as well as the industry partner GLINTT.