Working with large healthcare providers can often be a challenge for small businesses and charities.
In a pioneering research initiative, John Tredinnick Rowe has worked with Spiezia Organics to improve understanding of how the health and wellbeing sector can work with mainstream organisations such as the NHS.
Supported by the European Social Fund, the study focused on services that are based on the restorative properties of natural environments and aimed to increase public access to our natural heritage.
John believes that research in this area is vital:
“Ill health and loss of wellbeing cost the British economy billions of pounds a year, mainly due to stress related work absence and avoidable prescription of drugs. Developing ways to alleviate these trends offers an opportunity to improve health and wellbeing, save money and also raise awareness about the natural environment. It is beneficial for both businesses, consumers and the environment.”
Cornwall-based Spiezia use herbs and flowers to produce 100% organic skincare products. They also run the Made for Life Foundation, a charity which offers support, holistic treatments and nutritional advice to people diagnosed with cancer.
“I would recommend that other businesses get engaged with PhD research”
As part of his work, John helped Spiezia with its marketing – including researching customer demographics, buying patterns and trends.
Amanda Barlow, Spiezia Managing Director, said:
“Having John in our office and undertaking the research that he did was a real asset for our business strategy and laid down some good foundations for us to build on for the future. He was fantastic – it was great having an external viewpoint on the business as well as an exceptional brain working for us. I would recommend that other businesses get engaged with PhD research in the same way.”
Alongside this PhD research, John spent a month in Finland – a leading country in health and wellbeing. One of the issues he wanted to tackle was how small businesses, charities and social enterprises can finance their health and wellbeing offerings.
“In Finland, health and wellbeing organisations are all state funded,” he explained. “In the UK, innovative organisations are often constrained by the economic climate. The pool of money for innovative projects is shrinking so it is a struggle for them to find funding. In Cornwall a lot of the health and wellbeing businesses have moved outside of their target market and found new ways to generate income.”
The results of this research will be available shortly and the team are hoping they will help other small businesses to grow – and improve health and wellbeing services.