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Person Centred Solutions

Find out how one Highland woman's idea has led to a product which could be life-changing for others.

Bed Band Product

Making an idea a reality

Have you ever had a great idea? For many of us it may not amount to any more than a passing thought. But for Evanton home carer, student nurse and busy mum of five Roma Gibb, grasping the chance to develop her idea is set to change lives.

While working as a home carer Roma has often supported people who’ve had a stroke or who are living with life-changing conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis. She was conscious that one particular issue was giving her clients a lot of anxiety. Having had help to get settled at bedtime, something as simple as reaching for a glass of water in the night could leave them stuck in awkward and uncomfortable positions. Without the strength, dexterity or sometimes cognition to remedy this, it could mean many hours of discomfort until a carer returned in the morning.

Roma was upset by this, and it sparked an idea for a bed band which could hold someone in the correct position throughout the night, while leaving their arms free.

So when she started studying nursing at the UHI, and CREATE, the Hub for Enterprise and Innovation, part of the Centre for Living Sustainability, came to her class to promote the entrepreneurial UHI Business Competition, she realised she had a perfect opportunity.  

“I’d always had this idea,” says Roma. “And I thought, I’m going to try for this. My submission was accepted, and I made it onto the shortlist, which was great. Then I made it into the final, and I won Best Student Business Award.” 

IMPACT30 2022 (1)

Impact30

One of the judges in the competition was a trainer with HIE's IMPACT30 programme. A bespoke mentoring programme designed to support young entrepreneurs, it was the perfect next step.

“At first I thought I was being ridiculous even thinking about it,” laughs Roma. “My plan was to be a nurse, surely it was madness to develop this?” But after speaking with her husband, she did apply for IMPACT30.

“For a whole year I had one-to-one coaching. I went from having absolutely no clue what to do with the Bed Band to starting a company, applying for a patent and developing a prototype. It was just mind blowing doing that alongside studying for a nursing degree.”

Being from a nursing background, merely thinking about limited companies, shares, equity, investment, patents etc. used to overwhelm Roma. Now, having gone through IMPACT30, she feels like she has learnt a lot and she finds making decisions for her business exciting rather than daunting.

Start your IMPACT30 journey

Sometimes it’s just about making that one connection that opens all the doors.”
Roma Gibb, Owner, Person Centred Solutions Ltd
Bed Band In Action

Connections and progress

Roma has developed a Bed Band prototype, and has teamed up with the UHI to have it tested, with funding support from the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.

The link was made through Dr Adam Giangreco, director of health and life sciences innovation at UHI. He has helped Roma make several key connections – including to the factory she’s using in Glasgow to finalise the prototype. 

She has had continued support from the nursing and midwifery department at the University. Roma and Person Centred Solutions are now part of our Pathfinder Accelerator programme. 

Bed Band's profile is growing, it's reached the finals in the Converge Kickstart Challenge, which offers a top prize of £10k in equity-free cash. Roma was also shortlisted in the Highland Business Women Awards for Business Woman of the Year 2022, and has applied for the Scottish Edge Wild Card

More about Pathfinder Accelerator

Building a business

The CREATE UHI business competition was the catalyst which set Roma on her entrepreneurial path. She linked into our IMPACT30 programme to help her develop her idea further. Find out more about her journey.

What makes your product unique?

Nothing else on the market fulfils this need, and with the lack of additional care funding available for overnight care via the NHS, it’s vital. Bed Band is completely washable and wipeable, so it can be used again and again.

I'm keen to keep production in Scotland, and it's a factory in Glasgow where the prototype is being finalised. 

I hope to have my product on sale by the end of 2023. 

 

A mother of five, studying and a business? How is it done?

The amount I’ve learned over the last two years is mind blowing. I’m building on my knowledge constantly. I genuinely have about ten balls in the air but it’s all going the right direction. 

I couldn't have done it without the support of my husband Douglas. We set up Person Centred Solutions in 2020 as a limited company, and we are both directors. 

IMPACT30 was absolutely unbelievable. My mentor, Claire Smith, understood that my life was hectic, so sometimes we would have calls at 9pm because that’s the only time I could manage. 

Claire, knew how to keep me motivated. It’s tough, really tough, especially in that first year when you’re working and working and getting no tangible results. You feel like you’re constantly researching and asking people questions. Having her there was definitely a good thing.

 

 

 

What advice would you offer others?

Even if you feel like you don’t have time, you’ll be saving time in the long run by joining programmes like IMPACT30 and Pathfinder, because participating makes you more efficient, and you will be focused on the most beneficial tasks.

With Pathfinder in particular, the course leaders help you focus on what’s essential now, which helps you prioritise. There were things I had on my to-do list that I didn’t need to be worrying about.

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