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Spotlight on innovation during a crisis

During my final year of University [in 2019], I was part of a small team that launched Augment Bionics. Augment Bionics is a medical device start-up focussed on providing affordable and functional 3D printed prosthetic forearms.

Over the past few months, our company has received more donations, press coverage, and made more of a difference than ever before.

How has our company been thriving and growing while the world has essentially been on pause? 

The unfortunate reality was that amidst a global pandemic the safety of many front-line healthcare workers in the UK came down to a group of recent graduates united by an ambitious vision to help.

We [at Augment Bionics] came together to use our engineering skills and commercial resources to address the national PPE shortage. We embarked on a mission to provide free face shields to the NHS. Throughout March - July 2020 we raised over £100,000 which allowed us to donate approx. 110,000 face shields to the NHS, as well as more recently to healthcare workers in countries in need (ex: Armenia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Somalia, and Somaliland).

Navigating as a start-up during these uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances was challenging to say the least. We were repeatedly forced to make tough decisions while learning first-hand how to manage a business during these dire circumstances.

We were honoured to be able to do our part and step up during a time of need.

Our company was founded on values of social responsibility and sustainability and being able to make a difference and to literally save several lives so early in our start-up journey has been notable. The past few months have challenged me to show our power as the next generation. We showed the importance of investing in action-oriented youth who are determined to pave a solid path for the future.

It would be naive to say that the longer-term effects that this work will have on our company and normal day-to-day business have gone unnoticed. Though we’ve been very careful in deciding our priorities, we understand that the enormous level of exposure that we’ve gained specifically with the contacts we’ve made in our end-user markets (both in the NHS and abroad) will be crucial to the success of Augment Bionics.

I could not be prouder of all that the team has accomplished over the past few months. Though it’s been a difficult time, we’ve used teamwork and determination to make a difference one face shield at a time.

With thanks - this article was written by Elisabeth Feldstein.

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