https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2015/09/07/meet-our-customers-the-origins-of-ahhvreh/

Meet our customers - the origins of AHHVREH

Una Leahy Founder & Director of AHHVREH Ltd
Una Leahy Founder & Director of AHHVREH Ltd

Origins

As a teenager my parents would tell me to straighten my shoulders without explaining why. It was many years later when I was having a routine medical for a company I was about to work for, that I discovered I had a condition called scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. This condition can be painful on the shoulders, neck, back and hands. It also restricts neck movement. My condition was not helped by the job I held as an accountant, sitting behind a computer screen for many hours.

Scoliosis, posture and textiles

Over the years I have discussed the best way to manage scoliosis with the medical profession. Practicing yoga for over twenty years has taught me what perfect posture is all about. Back problems are cited as the second highest problem for absenteeism for the past 5 years costing the NHS £1bn p.a, 31 million work days lost in 2014 according to reports.

I set up my business AHHVREH Ltd in 2014. AHHVREH is the Gaelic for re birth as that is what I want to create - a wearable technological posture product for people who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders - neck back and shoulder pain and who work with computers and laptops.

Many posture products on the market are cumbersome and outdated. Some products developed in the US claim to be posture products but in essence are reminders about maintaining good posture. In my spare time I am a seamstress which began in my teens and am excited by the developments in textiles combined with technology.

Making my idea a reality

In the past two years I have attended a variety of networking events and spoken with representatives from Innovate UK who were always encouraging. Earlier in the year I listened to their webinar on Wearable Technologies Innovation Contest and was impressed by the support provided in making a successful application. Up to that point I was under the impression that making an application for any of their innovation vouchers was a difficult task.

I was fortunate to discover that a £5,000 voucher was available via Innovate UK for acquiring the services of an external expert to help develop the business. This was exactly what my business needed to cover the costs of an IP Lawyer and prototype development. The sheer delight and gratitude upon discovering my application was accepted is still difficult to comprehend.

The Future

My wildest dream would be to come under Google’s radar, example Nest. But before that thought could be a reality a lot of work is required in getting prototype developed, trialed, investment sought for manufacturing, successfully complying with EU regulations on medical devices and access to NHS suppliers.

Contacting me

My business is based in Manchester where it is supported by the Business Growth Hub, from which I was a runner up in Best Use of Technology Award this year and a number of other competitions in 2014.

Twitter @Una_AHHVREH
Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/una-leahy/b5/549/628

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