Katie Michaels holding her Ingenuity health champion award

Loughborough graduate entrepreneur wins national health champion award

Loughborough University graduate entrepreneur Katie Michaels has won the Ingenuity Programme’s National Health Champion award for her business, Moti Me.

The award recognises Katie’s innovation and commitment to designing a physiotherapy-focused product to help children with disabilities.

Run by the University of Nottingham and in partnership with Nuffield Health, the Ingenuity Programme provides start-up skills and training, networking, mentoring, and routes to funding for early-stage impact-driven businesses to make social and environmental change.

The most impactful ideas are awarded a top prize and receive a share of £75,000 funding to help them in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

Competing against 16 other national finalists, Katie’s business, Moti Me, impressed the judging panel, who also awarded her the Shakespeare Martineau Legal Prize (£2,000 of in-kind legal support provided by Shakespeare Martineau).

Katie, who graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Industrial and Product Design in 2020, founded Moti Me in Loughborough University’s business incubator LUinc.  LUinc. is a part of the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) which brings together support for entrepreneurial students from across the University to enable founders to develop skills, test ideas and setup and scale businesses.

Katie started her business after finding that a lack of access to physiotherapy and physical activity sessions guided by healthcare professionals can be detrimental for children with disabilities in achieving their developmental milestones, noting how parents often struggle to continue the exercises at home.

Moti Me includes a handheld device, mat and guidance app to support parents or caregivers and their child with special needs to practice physio and carry out developmental exercises in the home environment.

Upon receiving the award, Katie said: “Winning Health Champion is amazing. It's going to help us get the prototype to that next stage. The funding will be used to develop the electronics, the mechanics and development of the app, which will be completely game changing."

Pete Hitchings, Incubator Manager at Loughborough University, said: “I am really pleased to see Katie recognised through the Ingenuity Awards.  She has developed a unique product which has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for individual children.”

Claire Mulholland, Senior Business Development and Ingenuity Programme Manager at the University of Nottingham, said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the 2023 Ingenuity National Competition and the positive, meaningful impact of the programme this year. The Ingenuity Programme team are so incredibly proud of our 2023 Changemakers and their commitment to developing businesses focussed on improving health, tackling climate change and building stronger communities. Thank you to our participants, alumni, corporate, community and university partners, mentors, judges, contributors and other valued members of our Ingenuity Programme network.”

Ben Davies, Organisational Development Director at Nuffield Health said: “Nuffield Health is incredibly proud to have partnered with Ingenuity on this programme. Partnerships really are the key to maximising the positive impact we can have at a national, regional and local level. One of the ways we are starting to tackle the UK’s major health, social and environmental challenges is by supporting innovative start-ups with a social mission at their core.

“We are delighted to play our part in supporting up and coming entrepreneurs that are making such a meaningful impact in their communities. All of the participants should be incredibly proud, and I look forward to seeing how these fantastic programmes develop in the future.”

Information about Loughborough Enterprise Network can be found here.

More information about Loughborough’s start-up incubator, LUinc, can be found here

Find out more about the Ingenuity Programme here.