Women In Innovation Success Stories: Lise Pape, Walk With Path, Greater London
Impacted from seeing her father’s journey after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2002 and watching the steady progression of the disease, Lise’s mission was to find an answer for improving mobility that resulted in no side effects.
As a student of Innovation Design Engineering, Lise became interested in whether she was able to create a solution, to help people suffering from everyday mobility issues. Her first product Path Finder, designed to improve the mobility of those who experience difficulties in walking due to Parkinson’s, received widespread media attention.
Green shoots of commercial success
When Lise won Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Award in March 2021 for her company Walk With Path, they were still focused on R&D and developing clinical evidence, with a desire to progress to the next stage and advance the company commercially. Lise said: “Since starting the programme, we have begun important client discussions in the USA, with potential large commercial partners of our diabetes product.”
Lise says: “We want to start sales of our diabetes product from quarter two, 2022 and achieve growth with a number of pilots throughout the rest of the year. In five years’, time, we want to be a well-known provider of choice for managing diabetic foot disease, preventing falls and diabetic ulcers.”
Recognising there is a strong link between physical ability and social isolation, they are very excited to announce that they will also be doing a test bed project in Northern Ireland, where the intention is to help the frail elderly combat loneliness. This will be achieved through using their insole as a tool to be more mobile and independent.
Helping others and support
Lise’s personal growth during the programme has happened because of the company’s transition from being very R&D and clinically focused, to developing more commercially, including readiness for launch. Lise also likes to support others, she said: “I am extremely driven and enjoy sharing my experiences and promoting others when I can, for example, I aim to be transparent with all of my team, and try to help them achieve their goals. I have also given talks and lectures at the Royal College of Art and the University of Chester in the past six months, which I find very rewarding.”
In the past year, Lise’s main challenges have been raising capital and dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 on the company. It has helped to have another team member, who has a financial background, to help with corporate and business development, which complements the team well.
The support Lise has had from the programme has been invaluable. “My Innovation and Growth Specialist is great, and I knew him before the programme (Jonathan Grinbaud from Innovate UK EDGE). Being able to continue to work together is very beneficial, as I learn from his expertise, feedback, and networks. I hope we all get to meet in person before the end of the programme,” Lise said.
She continues: “In terms of advice to future applicants and winners, I think success is about engaging in the network and with the Innovation and Growth Specialists as much as possible. It is also important to have a clear plan of what you want to achieve in the timeframe.”