UKTI lends helping hand to New Zealand's Im-Able
An innovative New Zealand healthcare firm has chosen the UK as its European base.
Im-Able Ltd is establishing its sales HQ for Europe in Hemel Hempstead, creating sales and marketing jobs under newly appointed European Director Rajendra Jadeja. The company is also looking to work on product development with organisations and research institutions in the UK and Europe.
The move comes after the company received inward investment advice and support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
Im-Able recently gained CE certification for its Able-X rehab device for stroke victims, meaning it can be promoted and sold for medical therapy in Europe.
The product is presently being launched on the European market at the MEDICA trade fair in Düsseldorf, which finishes on 19 November.
Im-Able products are designed to help people with arm disorders related to strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and other medical issues.
The award-winning Able-X is a two-handed ‘Wii’-style controller, specifically produced for stroke recovery activity in the home, allowing the user to play on-screen exercise games.
Potential benefits include improving the ability to tie shoelaces and eat using hands, better body balance and control, and enhanced memory and concentration.
Rajendra Jadeja said: “The UK was always in our minds as the ideal gateway to Europe and important markets such as France and Germany, and as a base from which to develop new products.
“We had keen interest from France in locating there, but a number of considerations, notably the language, proximity to key markets, and the fact that we are familiar with the business culture in the UK, persuaded us to base ourselves here.
“We initially visited the UKTI website for intelligence and information about locating in the UK. We then had excellent joined-up input from UKTI staff in New Zealand and London, notably John Dow, which confirmed our decision to choose the UK.
“Hemel Hempstead is an excellent location for us,” Mr Jadeja added, “with easy access to London, the rest of the UK and the continent through major national and international transport networks, and the availability of relevant skills in the South East region."
UKTI’s John Paton, based at the British Consulate in Auckland, said: “We gave Im-Able initial advice on the critical path of establishing itself in the UK, and co-ordinated with London-based colleagues to provide sector intelligence and introductions to key networks. We also liaised with UKTI sector team to deliver a UK medical simulation presentation to the company.”
In England, UKTI helped Im-Able address VAT issues and facilitated introductions to British research groups. UKTI is also providing guidance as the company looks to export and attend appropriate events in continental Europe from its new UK location.
“The UK’s R&D environment is particularly suited to companies like Im-Able, with their innovative rehab technology,” said UKTI’s John Dow. “We’re pleased to support Im-Able’s integration into the healthcare development sector here and, through UKTI export assistance, its expansion into Europe.”
“As a UK-based company,” added Rajendra Jadeja, “we can now tap into the advice and support available from UKTI as and when we need it.”
After MEDICA, the Able-X will be exhibited at the Neurovascular Society of France Conference in Paris (24-25 November), and the UK Stroke Forum in Glasgow (29 November-1 December).