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Pelvic HealthMay 31, 2024

NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme helped physio to become an 'entrepreneur and an influencer'

Pelvic health physiotherapist Suzanne Vernazza has revealed that she ‘learned a lot about business’ after she enrolled on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme (CEP), which she joined as part of the seventh cohort last year.

In an article published on the programme’s website this week (29 May), Suzanne says she has been exposed to ‘information that you do not usually receive when working within the NHS’ – and has developed her business acumen as a result.

Author Emily Graham says that the CEP programme supported Suzanne’s ‘entrepreneurial journey’ by ‘connecting her with a network of like-minded visionaries’ and has also given her access to business planning sessions.

‘Through the mentorship, education, and inspiring stories from previous entrepreneurs, she has built self-confidence and in 2024 pitched to an audience of over 500 entrepreneurs, partners, mentors, and NHS leaders, at the NHS CEP Big Pitch Event,’ the article notes.

Suzanne joined the CEP programme after being appointed as a physiotherapist at Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where she sought guidance from the site’s innovation team on funding and entrepreneurial support. Her interest in women's health issues had initially been sparked when went on a placement supporting new mothers with postnatal classes as a fledgling NHS physiotherapist in 2003.

Suzanne pitched to more than 500 people at the NHS CEP Big Pitch Event earlier this year


Growing self-belief 

After becoming a mother, Suzanne experienced pelvic floor issues herself and realised that there was a lack of comprehensive post-birth information available to women, the article notes.

‘She recognised that understanding what was “normal” versus what wasn’t around pelvic health was crucial and this led her to returning to the NHS as a pelvic health physiotherapist.’ 

‘I never thought I was an entrepreneur or an influencer, but over the past two years on my journey, I have learned that through self-belief and support through the programme, I can be those things,' Suzanne says.

‘From the NHS CEP I have learned a lot about business, which is information that you do not usually receive when working within the NHS. It’s been extremely useful in understanding regulation, IP [intellectual property] and what I need to do to grow and scale my social enterprise.’

In 2020, Suzanne founded Know Your Floors CIC, a not-for-profit company that aims to dispel taboos, raise awareness and provide education around pelvic health and related Suzanne uses ‘physiotherapy exercises to prevent and improve pelvic health for populations across the UK, reducing barriers and stigmas around support’, the article by Emily Graham notes.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone with an idea is to believe in yourself, trust your instincts and find people who will support you on your journey because you can make a massive difference [Suzanne Vernazza]

More than 630,000 followers

Two years later, Suzanne began using social media platforms explored to ‘expand her reach’. Linking her interests in music and pelvic health, Suzanne started a TikTok and Instagram account, curating the #SqueezeAlong and the #SqueezeSquad. The article says this 'makes doing pelvic floor exercises more fun with support on how to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle correctly and safely'. Suzanne's videos aim to support all different age groups, communities, and genders, having accrued a following of more than 630,000 people.

Suzanne reveals that she is currently creating a ‘Squeeze Squad School’, which will give participants daily emails over a two-week period on how to optimise their pelvic floor exercises and get involved in the #SqueezeAlongs confidently.

She adds:I have also been supported by fellow clinical entrepreneurs and mentors, including Seb Tucknott, co-founder of IBDrelief and Alastair Scott, commercial/procurement director at Aon, who have been an immense support along my journey in giving me practical advice and feedback.

‘The sessions on the programme have also inspired me, as hearing fellow entrepreneurs’ stories and being able to network with over 1,000 other passionate individuals is extremely supportive and has helped me to make links to push forward.

‘My biggest piece of advice to anyone with an idea is to believe in yourself, trust your instincts and find people who will support you on your journey because you can make a massive difference.’

To read PhysioUpdate's article about Suzanne's particpation in next month's Everywoman Festival, click 

Author: Ian McMillan
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