SME leaders attend Solutions 4 Health talk
18 June 2018
A large number of SMEs assembled at Henley Business School to hear Kishore Sankla, the award winning co-founder and CEO of Solutions 4 Health, deliver the eleventh talk in the ‘Talks on Enterprise Development’ series on Monday 18 June 2018.
‘Scaling Growth Using AI’ was the title of the talk and it did not disappoint the audience of SMEs who turned out to hear the story. Kishore opened with a passionate statement of what Solutions 4 Health has accomplished since the company was formed in 2008 and pride that the company has won numerous awards. Today Solutions 4 Health is recognised as a ‘scale up’ company joining the ranks of those similarly classified by the Scale-Up Institute as driving the economy and employment growth in the UK. Most recently the Royal Society for Public Health presented Solutions 4 Health with the Technology and Innovation Award in recognition of it as an innovative company focused on the delivery of high quality and cost-effective healthcare services that make a real difference to peoples’ lives.
Solutions 4 Health has grown to over 400 high skilled people serving a growing population of over 100,000 members of the public. The services Solutions 4 Health provide include everything from help with stopping smoking, weight management and chronic disease care, all of which are underlined by the core message that Kishore has made part of the fabric of the business: ‘Solutions 4 Health tackle health inequality’.
Like previous business leaders who have spoken at Henley Business School, Kishore recognised that without his people there would be no company, saying: “We are proud of everyone within the organisation; their dedication, commitment, professionalism has enabled us to grow from strength to strength.”
However, Kishore highlighted the seven challenges that the company continues to face in scaling the business including: cash flow; hiring and retaining talent; a changing market; responding to competition; nurturing a great company culture; regulatory compliance; and innovation. Kishore’s view was that success came down to overcoming the challenges and in practice meant hard work, late nights, coping with rejection, making sacrifices, applying discipline, learning from failures and managing risks. The journey to success is never easy but the rewards are worth the sacrifices, setbacks and stumbles.
Kishore moved on to talk to the audience about the innovations Solutions 4 Health is behind, focusing on the company’s application of artificial intelligence (AI) to create a solution to help people stop smoking. In the UK smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease and 70% of smokers want to quit, but most lack the motivation and the cost of smoking related illnesses and accidents year is many billions of pounds.
Enter ‘Bella’, a virtual personal stop smoking coach that comes via Alexa. Bella helps smokers quit by supporting them through conversation, including answering your questions.
Kishore’s colleague Keshav Sankla demonstrated Bella to the amazement of the audience and Kishore explained that after launching in January 2018 Bella has already captured the attention of public authorities around the country, with several signing up to receive the service. As an added bonus the service is free to anyone seeking to quit smoking as part of a smoking cessation programme.
The talk wrapped up with a Q&A session, which the audiences engaged in with much enthusiasm as the asked questions ranging from ‘How do you protect your knowhow and stay competitive?’ through to ‘What will Solutions 4 Health look like in 10 years?’.
In closing, Kishore said that Bella is just the beginning, with more sophisticated AI solutions to public health issues on the horizon. The audience left with a strong consensus that AI solutions were very much the future of business for successful companies.
Members of the audience gave positive feedback about the talk:
Tim Brownstone, CEO of KYMIRA: “A really insightful talk… I’ve recommended the product (Bella).”
Brian Forsberg, Cloud Solutions Director at Oracle: “Excellent event on AI strategy.”
Jonathan Walton, Managing Director of Whitley Stimpson: “Interesting talk on understanding AI at any level.”
It was a real pleasure to have Kishore and Keshav Sankla on campus and to hear the ongoing Solutions 4 Health story. We wish Kishore and the team at Solutions 4 Health great success in the future.
Henley Business School is committed to work with the SME community in the Thames Valley Region for mutual benefit.
Contact and Notes:
Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director, Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of Henley Business School at the University of Reading which provides a hub for teaching and research in the subject, inspiring students from across the University to embrace, develop and apply their entrepreneurial abilities.
The event was kindly sponsored by James Cowper Kreston and supported by the Thames Valley Business Growth Hub, Thames Valley Science Park and VitalSix.
James Cowper Kreston (JCK) is a leading firm of accountants and business advisers. James Cowper Kreston sets itself apart from the rest of the UK’s top accountants and business advisers through its unique approach of combining professionalism, flexibility and passion. JCK supports entrepreneurs. Read the new guide compiled in conjunction with Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship - ‘The Entrepreneurial Business: From Start Up to Exit’
VitalSix is a business advisory, consulting and leadership training company specialising in working with ambitious teams to accelerate the growth and scale up of their businesses. Established in 2011, VitalSix’s knowledge and know-how has helped hundreds of businesses more effectively plan for scale up and secure investment to make it happen. VitalSix brought together the Innovation Catalyst partnership to drive innovation in the Thames Valley. Innovation Catalyst is a collaboration between VitalSix, Thames Valley Science Park, Henley Business School and Barclays Eagle Labs.
The Growth Hub provides a single gateway for ambitious businesses who are seeking the information, guidance, support, expertise, finance, knowledge and experience they need to scale up and grow, boost performance and find new ways of working.