In this section, we give a stage to start-ups and scale-ups developing pioneering products or services. What sets these companies apart and what are their ambitions? This time, we speak to Harpert Wouters, co-founder of HelpSoq.

What is HelpSoq and what did you come up with?

"HelpSoq is a young company that I founded with my brother Reinoud to solve an old but persistent problem: putting on compression stockings for people with vascular problems. Together with design agency NPK, we have now developed a professional, electric solution for this. This aid consists of a device that stretches and rolls up the stocking on a light but strong ring. The ring can then be moved across the leg to let the stocking effortlessly come into place. This idea was immediately received with great enthusiasm by the market. That's how we won the National Healthcare Innovation Award in 2022."

Why is this distinctive? What problem does it solve?

"We saw our father struggling every day when putting on his compression stockings. This is often a difficult and heavy task for both patients and care staff. The therapeutic stockings have to be very tight to work properly. As a result, putting them on takes a lot of strength, time and discomfort. Over the years, all kinds of attempts have been made to improve this, without really solving the problem. HelpSoq is now radically changing this. This makes it a lot easier for patients to keep up their therapy. Moreover, it allows healthcare professionals and informal carers to do their work much more ergonomically."

What is your ambition, where will you be in five years' time?

"HelpSoq is now working with a large number of Dutch healthcare organisations, where the devices are used on a daily basis. There are also patients who use the device themselves, with insurers reimbursing the costs. In the coming years we want to expand, including to other countries. Because we patented our invention in time, we stay in control over its utilization ourselves. This is important for us, because it allows us to keep innovating and to always ensure the quality of the product."

Read more about HelpSoq at www.helpsoq.com