Start-ups create community apps at The Sharp Project
Two new tech tenants at The Sharp Project, Manchester’s digital content production complex, are creating apps with a focus on improving life for members of local communities.
ParentHub,set up by three former secondary school teachers, is the company behind a new smart phone app for parents and the wider community.
One of the company’s founders, James Whitaker, a qualified maths teacher who also has an MBA from Manchester Business School explains: “We wanted to create something to connect, engage with and mobilise the community better. The app is designed to reach out to the community via the school and influence it in a positive way. By having a web portal at the school and the ability for parents and the wider community to download the app, we’re creating two-way communication and making the school the hub of the community.”
As well as being used as an alternative to texting and letters to notify parents, saving the school money, the app will also offer a translation service in up to 60 languages breaking down communication barriers with families where English isn’t the first language.
The trio are developing the app with mobile exchange data specialists, MX Data, based in Wilmslow and have started piloting it with five North West high schools. By September they hope to have 25 schools using the app and aim to have it rolled out to 100 schools within 12 months.
Another tech start-up, Intelesant, is developing an app that will help families, carers and GPs connect with the elderly and monitor their health and well-being. The elderly person is assessed during each visit and the data shared with extended family, social services and their own GP. Initially the focus will be to pilot the pioneering technology in the Trafford and South Manchester areas with an ambition to roll it out nationally within 12 months.
Jonathan Burr, Intelesant’s founder said: “Our aim is to create something that families trust and doctors take seriously. It’s a tool that can collect information on an elderly person in a structured way and track trends in their physical and mental health so problems can be spotted early. We’re creating a mechanism that encourages an integrated multi-agency approach to helping older people while reducing costs by helping prevent hospital stays. It can help the public, private and voluntary sectors work together, engage with the community and allow the elderly to remain independent.”
Sue Woodward OBE, Project Director for The Sharp Project said: “Our ‘easy in, easy out’ approach here at The Sharp Project really suits tech start-ups. They can come for three or six months, base themselves in The Campus, develop their product, test the market and expand into a container as the business grows.”
James Whitaker added: “This place really suits us and we love being here. We’re at a crucial stage in the development of the business and find the environment works for us. We can mix with like-minded people in The Campus if we wish but also hide ourselves away in our own space when we need to.”