Neomi Bennett, Neo-Slip

The Neo-Slip was created by Neomi Bennett, a nursing graduate from Kingston University and a registered nurse. Neomi was inspired to create an anti-embolism stocking aid after repeatedly seeing patients, particularly the elderly struggling to put on their anti-embolism stockings (medical stockings to help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis). Each year 25,000 people in England and over 60,000 in the United States die as a result of DVT, many of these occurring because anti-embolism stockings have not been effectively used.

Mother of three Neomi had her eldest son when she was just 18 years old, leaving her career to take a back seat. As her children grew she decided she wanted a better life for them and as to act as a role model. This spurred her on to enrol on a nursing access course, having to study, run a home and manage childcare at the same time.

Once Neomi had completed her access course she started her studies at Kingston University where she was asked to carry out a project looking at health and safety. During the project she notice the problems people were having putting on the anti-embolism stocking. Her tutors, who were impressed with her findings and suggested solution, asked her to enter her neo-slip idea into a university competition, which she won. Neomi then entered the Nursing award, which she once again won. It was at this point Neomi decided to manufacture her product, which is completely made in the UK.

Neo-slip is now available on prescription, patients can visit their doctor and the product is free to the over 65’s. It is sold at selected pharmacies and used by nursing homes. Neomi has also just secured a partnership with the NHS and is currently conducting an academic study into the benefits of Neo-Slip in the hope that positive findings will encourage other hospitals to take her product on board. The business has three distributors and so far, Neo-slip has won 14 awards. Neo-Slip has begun supplying private hospitals including two in the Ramsey Health chain with the potential to expand to all 34 branches in the near future. She has also just won an application to be included on an NHS framework, which means the product will be available to all NHS hospitals from March 2017. Boots will be the retailer that is due to honour the prescriptions so Neoslip should be included in stores shortly.

Individual units have been sold internationally in South Africa, Nigeria, France, Belgium and Australia with customers often finding out about the company through word of mouth. The potential for further growth is highlighted by the fact that each year every hospital in the United Kingdom spends £70,000 per annum on anti-embolism stockings.

At present (January 2017), Neomi has just taken on a new job, one day per week, with a nursing group to allow her to keep her nursing license and remain up to date with what is happening within the industry. Working so closely with nurses, and being one herself, means that she can understand the issues suffered by nurses and patients and can start to look for solutions to these issues. She is currently working on a prototype for a new product with designers, to be revealed later this year.

Neomi has recently received her ISO 1900 certification (international standard business certification), which makes the business more credible and allowed her to access big clients such as the NHS. Although she is in a scale-up phase she does still feel like a start-up and finds the business world quite intimidating.

Neomi is a huge fan of the Start Up Loans Company and completely believes that she would not have been able to launch her business without her loan. She is a real advocate and recommends the scheme to her friends and colleagues regularly. She is also often asked to speak about her experience with the scheme by Wandsworth Council, and at universities and businesses across the country. She has been nominated for numerous awards and won the National Diversity Entrepreneur of Excellence Award last year.