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Published on November 25th, 2021 📆 | 3762 Views ⚑

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Innovative prosthetics technology company wins inaugural Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award

The University of Strathclyde has announced the inaugural winner of an entrepreneurship award established through the largest gift in the University’s history.

PCAD was named as the winner of the first Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award, for its work on fittings for lower-limb prosthetics.

The £10,000 prize was presented as the first in a range of awards designed to support Strathclyde’s emerging entrepreneurs.

The Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards programme has been created as one important element of a £50 million donation to Strathclyde by the charitable foundation of alumnus, entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Charles Huang PhD, which is supporting the university’s work in transforming lives, supporting the economy and nurturing entrepreneurship.

The award is presented in memory of the late Professor Stephen Young, former Head of Strathclyde’s Department of Marketing and Dr Huang’s supervisor and mentor during his PhD studies.

The award was announced at the biannual Inspire 100 ceremony held by Strathclyde Inspire, the University’s flagship entrepreneurship programme, which offers entrepreneurial training and opportunities to every student, staff member and alumnus.

Entrepreneurs presented at the online event to an audience of experienced entrepreneurs, supporters and investors, with the aim of securing cash prizes as well as advice and support.

Significant improvement 

The PCAD™ (Pressurised Computer Aided Design) technology has been designed to make a significant improvement to the way in which lower limb prosthetics are fitted, by combining the technology of pressure casting with state-of-the-art, computer-aided design scanning technology for the first time.

The company was established by Dr Anthony McGarry, a Senior Teaching Fellow in Strathclyde’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Strathclyde, said: “The donation from the Charles Huang Foundation is already having a profound impact on the already strong culture of entrepreneurship at Strathclyde. The support and guidance we offer to new and existing entrepreneurs has benefited enormously from this gift.

“A major focus of the Charles Huang Foundation is to foster entrepreneurial skills and bold ideas with a global vision. PCAD produces technology with the capacity to make a positive difference to many people’s lives and is an ideal example of this.

“PCAD is a worthy inaugural winner of the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award and we congratulate them on their success.”

Dr Huang said: “We are delighted that the first Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award has been presented. It shows that this gift is having a significant impact on Strathclyde, not only for the good of the University but for the global community.

“We also congratulate Dr McGarry on receiving the award; his innovative work will enhance the use of prosthetics and will meet an urgent need for people around the world. We look forward to many others winning the award for equally valuable entrepreneurship.”

Dr McGarry said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship award for PCAD.

“There are a growing number of people with amputation particularly in low to medium income countries. The World Health Organization estimates that between 35 million and 40 million people currently require prosthetic or orthotic services, with only one in 10 people having access to such services due to a shortage of clinicians and services, particularly in Asia and Africa.

“Current methods of prosthetic fit are highly dependent on clinician skill and may result in inconsistent socket fit, causing pain or skin breakdown. PCAD aims to deskill prosthetic shape capture, with potential to supply previously untapped markets, improving fit and the quality of life of prosthetic users.

“Initially the project will redesign a prototype fit for testing in a clinical environment and funding will be used to undertake an independent gap analysis prior to redesign.”

Gillian Fleming, co-founder and Managing Director of angel investment group Mint Ventures, and Scottish representative of venture capital company Kero Developments, was a member of the judging panel. She said: “It was heartening to see that all of the founders had considered what impact their business would have to potentially make the world a better place.

“PCAD really stood out for me as it was clear that global social impact ran through the veins of the company and they comprehensively articulated how they intend to democratise the manufacturing of prosthetics to enable smaller and affordable setups in poorer nations around the world.”

PCAD has been supported by business mentor David Bowie.

Four other Strathclyde start-up companies are also set to receive funding through the new Awards programme :

  • &I Technologies, a digital health company with an AI driven app which understands and prioritises an individual’s reaction to stress,
  • Metacarpal, a prosthetics company producing upper-limbed prostheses designed for better function, cost and cosmetics,
  • Querca, which provides a range of professional services including business development and is the first online platform for quantum training and resourcing,
  • Paperflute, which produces recyclable children’s playhouses made of paper.

Each of the companies participates in Strathclyde Inspire’s investor-ready accelerator, which helps fast-track opportunities through the provision of advice, funding and bespoke training opportunities.

In addition to the Entrepreneurship awards, Dr Huang’s donation will support the construction of a new building, to be named after him, in Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Zone with Glasgow City Innovation District, and the creation of The Stephen Young Institute for International Business and The Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship Programme.

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