Economy

Grandparent inspires startup success

A woman pouring water from a bright blue kettle

Meet the small business grant recipient who created an innovative startup to make sure his grandpa and others could live more independently. 

After an older man fell over while he wasn’t wearing his personal alert pendant, his grandson Adam Jahnke turned to technology to help him live more safely.

‘We set out to build something new. Something that didn’t rely on my grandpa to change the way he lived, and that could even predict incidents before they occurred,’ Adam said.

‘My grandpa was the first person to use our technology and we all call him Umps, so that’s where the name Umps Health comes from.’

Umps Health uses smart plugs that fit between any appliance and the wall socket. The plugs detect actions including when you use the kettle, open the refrigerator, or turn your TV on and off.

The system learns unique patterns of behaviour and, if something happens that is out of the ordinary, raises the alert with a family member or care provider so they can send support.

We awarded Umps Health a small business grant last year to help the team open a new Experience Centre in the central city, which showcases how the system predicts declines in health and wellbeing.

‘The Experience Centre is a replica bedroom, lounge room and kitchen with Umps Health’s technology embedded,’ Adam said.

‘As people walk through the centre and interact with it, the Umps Health Smart Home detects this in real-time and generates insights.’

‘We’ve had a lot of interest from the aged care sector and government, as well as older people and their families. It’s really allowed us to showcase why Umps Health is different from the traditional solutions.’

Umps Health is available for purchase through the federal Home Care Packages Program and NDIS, and Adam believes Umps Health has the potential to support millions of people, and not just older Australians.

‘We see the potential for Umps Health to also support younger people with disabilities, people transitioning out of hospital or people managing chronic health conditions.’

‘To achieve our goals we’ll need to work closely with all levels of government, private health insurers, service providers and the end users of our technology.’

Our small business grants program has been running since 1996. In this time we’ve awarded more than $8.3 million in funding to almost 400 small businesses, to help them prosper and go global.

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