Wellola’s Sonia Neary on Going for Growth

Going for Growth alumni Sonia Neary of Wellola on the importance of working with like-minded souls.

Going for Growth, a programme jointly run by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, assists ambitious women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions.

So far more than 850 Irish women entrepreneurs have participated in the award-winning programme, including Áine Kerr of Kinzen. The 14th cycle of Going for Growth reported significant results for its 57 participants. Combined turnover increased from €35m at the start of the cycle to €43m by the end, a 23% increase in just six months.

“I found it particularly helpful to have this new support network in such a difficult time for Irish businesses”

Going for Growth is now inviting ambitious women entrepreneurs to take part in its 15th cycle with the deadline for applications set for Friday 18 November.

The preventative future of healthcare

Sonia Neary is the CEO and co-founder of Wellola. Wellola is an innovative Irish digital health software company, whose founders believe only the sickest of the sick should be hospitalised and that the future of healthcare is preventative, community-based and supported by digital tools.

With over 17 year’s previous experience working as a physiotherapist in the Irish healthcare setting, Sonia is a big believer in leveraging digital technology to support hospital-at-home and self-management care models.

She champions Wellola’s mission to offer care-enabling technology, which arms clinicians to keep well people well (and treat those that are unwell) in the community where possible, maximising clinical and economic outcomes and optimising patients’ healthcare experiences. Now, more than ever, Wellola’s secure telehealth and patient portal platforms are also protecting healthcare providers on our frontlines.

Wellola currently serves a variety of public and private healthcare organisations in Ireland and the UK. Customers include Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust, Nutricia Danone (making our solution available to 170 Nursing Homes in Ireland).

Her business also collaborated with the Irish Health Service Executive’ Digital Transformation Team during the onset of Covid-19, to offer our platform to all Irish GPs. Additionally, Wellola supports both Allied Health and Mental Healthcare professionals, being the provider of choice for the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, and charities such as Dublin Simon, and Accord Dublin among others.

In 2019, Sonia was honoured to represent Ireland as a finalist in the global Women in Tech Awards in Paris and to accept the ‘Integrated Care’ award from the Irish Medical & Surgical Trade Association on behalf of Wellola.

An advocate for greater gender diversity in entrepreneurship, and enhancing support networks amongst female founders, Sonia was delighted to participate in Starting Strong in 2020. Sonia participated in Starting Strong when the Covid restrictions were first introduced and caught everyone off-guard.

Commenting on her experience of Starting Strong, Sonia said: “Participating in Starting Strong has hugely benefitted me both personally and professionally as a female entrepreneur. Even in light of Covid-19, the Going for Growth team really rose to the challenge and continued to deliver a superb programme.

“Meeting like-minded and talented businesswomen, broadening my network and enhancing my skill sets were just some of the benefits gained. I found it particularly helpful to have this new support network in such a difficult time for Irish businesses; the forums we held really contributed to my wellbeing and the wellbeing and growth of my company.”

The call is open for applications from female entrepreneurs who would welcome peer support to take their businesses to the next level by taking part in the Going for Growth programme. This is the 15th year of Going for Growth and more than 850 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Sixty places will be available for the 15th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021 and the deadline for applications is Friday 18 November 2022. There is no charge for those selected.

Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website goingforgrowth.com

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