A leader in the digital health field who has helped hundreds of SMEs commercialise their technologies has been named as the 2021 Victorian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year.
The prestigious award was presented to ANDHealth chief executive and managing director Bronwyn Le Grice during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday evening, as part of the Victorian Government Digital Innovation Festival program.
Awarded annually by the Pearcey Foundation, the Victorian Pearcey Award recognises an outstanding individual who has “taken a risk, made a difference and is an inspiration to others” in the Victorian information communications and technology industry.
Jordan Green, Victorian chair of the Pearcey Foundation, said Le Grice “most definitely” fits this bill.
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Le Grice’s career in the technology sector has seen her lead NZBIO, now known as BioTech New Zealand, as well as work in the venture capital sector for six years and co-found peer-to-peer pet sitting marketplace PetHomeStay.
In 2017, she worked with a consortium of industry partners to create ANDHealth, a non-profit organisation that focuses on the commercialisation of digital health. The organisation supports early-stage digital health companies through the commercialisation process.
To date, ANDHealth has supported 450 emerging companies, and its pilot ANDHealth+ program has supported 10 companies to go on to raise $70 million in funding. The organisation is credited with creating around 300 jobs and the technologies it supports have affected more than 200,000 patients.
It also recently created its own dedicated funding facility, the ANDHealth Digital health Accelerator Fund, which will invest directly invest in SMEs that participate in the ANDHealth+ program.
The award also recognises Le Grice’s industry involvement and her numerous advisory roles, including with the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum Health Technologies Sector Group, RMIT University’s Health and BioMedical Sector Expert Research Advisory Group, and Swinburne University’s Innovation Precinct Advisory Board. She is also a non-executive director of Lumos Diagnostics, a point-of-care diagnostics technology company.
In a statement to SmartCompany, Le Grice said is humbled to receive the award.
“There are very few genuinely peer-based award programs in Australia, and it is a great privilege to be counted among the extraordinary recipients who have previously received this award,” she said.
“I remain committed to seeing technologies which directly improve patient outcomes commercialised within Australia, for the benefit of all Australians and our global community. Now, more than ever, we need to look to digital health solutions delivering disease prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment that support an accessible, affordable and resilient healthcare system of the future.”
ANDHealth board chair Gavin Fox-Smith described Le Grice as a “true leader in building an Australian digital health industry that is globally connected, robust, clinically and commercially viable — and delivers health and economic outcomes”.
“Under Bronwyn’s leadership, ANDHealth has contributed to significant growth within Australia’s digital health sector and continues to be a driving force for the development of sovereign capability in evidence-based, regulated digital health technologies,” he said.
The Victorian award is one of the first of the Pearcey Foundation’s state awards to be presented for 2021, with writer, adviser and investor Charlie Gunningham having been named the Western Australian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year in July.
A shortlist has been announced for the South Australian award, nominations have recently closed in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, and submissions are still open in New South Wales and Tasmania. The state award recipients will go on to be considered for the national award, which is scheduled to be presented in Tasmania in November.
The Victorian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award was first presented in 1999 and previous recipients include Grant Petty, founder and CEO of Blackmagic Designs; Craig McDonald, founder and CEO of MailGuard and BlackEvents; Rome2Rio founders Bernie Tschirren and Michael Cameron; and Envato founders Cyan and Collis Ta’eed.
Each year the award ceremony also includes the Pearcey Oration, which was delivered by Australian Taxation Office second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn on Wednesday evening. Hirschhorn spoke on the topic of ‘Digital Transformation — Australia as a World Leader’.
“The ATO has played a central role for many years in Australian Government digital transformation and service delivery innovation, which has never been more important than the last 18 months,” said Pearcey Foundation chair Wayne Fitzsimmons in a statement.
“That 18 months has put a spotlight on the role that the ICT industry and our technology entrepreneurs play in the adaptability and responsiveness of both our public and private sector to a rapidly changing world.”