Bahamian Rhodes scholar leads the way in regional ‘future-health’ revolution
The HEALinc Enterprise (HEALinc), an innovation incubator led by founder and CEO Dr. Desiree Cox, hosted its first annual “Future-Health” Hackathon with a HEALinc-University of Central Florida iCORPS event to kick off the six-week future-health entrepreneurship educational program.
This unique, immersive experience, which was held from May 11–14 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas, brought together entrepreneurs, postgraduates, thought leaders and faculty from The Bahamas and the United States who are pioneering the design of innovative healthcare technologies. The event was held in partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF), led by Dr. David Metcalf and Dr. Tom O’Neal, and the National Science Foundation (iCorps) and included three days of exploration, networking and collaboration to help this talented group accelerate the progress and commercialization of their healthcare projects.
“The global healthcare industry is moving faster than ever and The Bahamas, the Caribbean and Latin America are falling behind,” said Dr. Cox. “Through fast-paced, all-encompassing events like this one, we’re cultivating a spirit of enterprise and crowd-collaboration among creatives and developers from our region whose ideas might never come to life without proper mentorship, access to resources and support.”
During the boot-camp style cruise, participants were exposed to the key aspects of building a start-up including leadership skills, design thinking, business model canvas development, finding the “product-market” fit of their innovation, serial prototyping and more.
“Our goal at HEALinc is to activate 1 billion healthcare creatives by 2028,” Dr. Cox continued, “From the level of imagination and talent that we saw on display during the hackathon cruise, we’re off to an incredible start.”
The Future-Health Hackathon begins with a six-week intensive program with University of Central Florida (UCF)-iCORPs being the main HEALinc educational curriculum partners. HEALinc participants joined students and entrepreneurs from all over the world based at UCF-iCORPs during this period to develop their prototypes and refine pitches for investors as they seek to obtain seed funding for their start-ups. The six-week intensive is followed by a 48-hour HEALinc-IBM “Tech Hack”, where successful entrepreneurial leaders come together with developers to build out an app or tech component of their prototype. Finally, entrepreneurial leads will have an opportunity to launch their start-ups at the 2018 inaugural HEALinc GlobalFuture-Health Innovation Summit, which will be held in The Bahamas on October 7-9.