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Enterprise Hub Network - Case History

East Sussex Enterprise Hub
Jim Christy


Company Background

Tissue Viability Consultancy Services (TVCS) has been part of the UK landscape for more than nine years. During that time, it has established itself as a local and national leader and provider of wound healing consultancy services. Services involve setting up and running new Wound Healing Centres, supporting established tissue viability services and provision of education and advice for patients and clinicians.

Its practice is evidence-based and considered by its clients to be first-rate. Its clinicians are experienced, compassionate and committed to defending the “voice of the customer.”

TVCS' client base consists of patients, other healthcare professionals and manufacturers of the products used within its clinics. Anticipating the future of healthcare, TVCS continues to deliver innovative solutions to meet the needs of all of its clients and is committed to providing the tools and expertise to successfully execute clinical trials or tissue viability services. TVCS remains focused on empowering its clients to deliver higher quality solutions at lower costs. Education plays a very large part in facilitating these solutions.

The company was founded by Sylvie Hampton, a specialist nurse with 12 years’ experience of wound care and pressure ulcer prevention, and Fiona Collins, a lecturer in occupational therapy at the University of Brighton, also with many years' experience in pressure ulcer prevention and management. The pair met when they took part in a tissue viability research project in the late 1990s where Fiona and Sylvie evaluated the benefit of specialist chairs on a medical ward.

TVCS employs 10 people and its new Wound Healing Centre, which has been open for six months is making great strides – already healing four times as many patients, three or four times faster than the national average. For example the national average healing rate is 30 per cent of patients in 12 weeks. The Wound Healing Centre heals 82 per cent of patients in three weeks.

One patient from Basingstoke, had a wound for 69 years after being shot in the ankle early in the Second World War. He had been unable to swim for many years, for fear of getting an infection and had recently been told that he must have an amputation as the wound was so old that he would have infection in the bone below. He visited the Wound Centre and was healed – he has remained healed for 18 months.

The centre has also healed, in eight days, two men with wounds that were both two and a half years old.

Work with Enterprise Hub

TVCS began working with the East Sussex Enterprise Hub 18 months ago in advance of the company setting up the nation’s first Wound Healing Centre in Gildredge Road, Eastbourne in January this year (2008)

It received support and advice from the Enterprise Hub in a number of ways, including:

  • signing TVCS up to a High Growth Coaching Scheme where a hands-on, highly experienced businessman helps the company to expand;
  • the provision of training in appraisal of staff and marketing;
  • three hours with a patent attorney, who gave advice on patenting a product and trademarking. The directors went on to trademark the company name and logo – imperative in franchising a business;
  • paying for them to attend a number of events including one by the British Franchising Association on Business Franchising and a Directors' Liability Workshop which gave advice on new Companies House laws and the responsibilities of company directors;
  • referring TVCS to experts including: a medial specialist at UK Trading and Investments who advised the company on exporting products; Locate East Sussex which gave advice on suitable accommodation for opening further wound healing clinics across East Sussex and SEEDA innovation advisors who gave advice on marketing plans;
  • three free market reports on wound care;
  • advice and information on dealing with prospective investors;
  • advice and information on staff restructuring.

Sylvie Hampton, TVCS Managing Director, said: “Over the past two years the East Sussex Enterprise Hub has been, and continues, to be a tremendous support. Not only does it give us practical help such as access to mentors, expertise and help with funding for training and education – but it gives us great moral support, new ideas and an invaluable alternative perspective on what we are doing. It feels like they care, are part of our team and believe absolutely in our business. At this stage, the hub is instrumental in moving us forward.”

Jim Christy, Hub Director at the East Sussex Enterprise Hub said “We have been supporting TVCS for 18 months and we are absolutely delighted it is expanding so rapidly. TVCS is a very enthusiastic client – great to work with. It has tripled its turnover in the past year. We can help in so many ways with businesses like this - from IP support and marketing to help with business planning and expansion. The Enterprise Hub has a set of tools and services which can help in every aspect of the business.”

What’s next

The aim is to franchise the business and open a Wound Healing Centre in every major town and city in the UK. TVCS is also exploring the possibilities of expanding the business into the Middle East and Europe.

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