Business name: Scoliosis SOS Limited
Business type: Limited company
Industry: Healthcare Services
At the age of eleven, Erica Maude was diagnosed with scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can lead to severe disfigurement, discomfort and disability.
She spent two years in a back brace, however there was no improvement and she faced the prospect of a complex spinal surgery. Erika chose another route, a Spanish non-surgical scoliosis management, which has proven successful. She started thinking – if non-invasive treatment works in Spain, it may be an idea to open a centre facilitating this method in the UK.
Her family and friends supported the idea, but medical industry is an expensive one to break into and with expensive medical kit to buy and health professionals to hire they needed a little more on the kitty.
The start was promising, as Erika was offered an investment from a consortium of business angels, in exchange for a 75% stake in the company. She was on a mission but would not yield and compromise her independence. “It would have caused a conflict of interest” – says Erika. “Investors’ expectations of a good return as opposed to our emphasis on a quality service, small class numbers and good outcomes. This wasn’t only about making lots of money, so we said no.” They needed to find a different solution.
Fortunately, genuine focus on improving community well-being appeals to Foundation East. However, honourable principles are not enough – the business proposition has to be practical. After rigorous examination of their proposal, Scoliosis SOS were awarded the loan they applied for. This was a premier enterprise – a clinic first of its kind, combining the best non-surgical treatments from around the globe and developing new techniques to make them available to the public.
“Without the Foundation East money we simply wouldn’t have been able to buy the sophisticated equipment we use to measure reductions in curvature” – says Erika.
Scoliosis SOS opened for business in May 2006, providing services to patients of all ages. For younger patients the main objective is a flexible and pain free back, avoiding major spinal surgery. Older patients tend to seek support in making changes to their pain management regime. It is not an overstatement to say that Scoliosis SOS are changing lives. Recognition came fast and success stories spread like wildfire resulting in clients from the US and New Zealand. Erika paid off her loan just after twelve months.
Where they are today
To quote Scoliosis SOS, they are “a world-leading non-surgical scoliosis clinic”. These days you can read more about the clinic in the press than on their website! …Coventry Telegraph, Luton on Sunday, Southside (Dublin) People, to name but a few, and most articles feature expressions like “miracle”, “treatment turns girl’s ‘life around’” or “given new lease of life”. Well done! We are very pleased to have played a little part in launching this success.
Read more about Erika and her team on www.scoliosissos.com