Innovation Showcase: HMR Circle

Mark Wynn, director of HMR Circle

Innovation Showcase: HMR Circle

HMR Circle is a business that aims to reduce loneliness and isolation in elderly people using bespoke systems that help them to meet people and take part in activities. Director Mark Wynn explains why the company is entering Innovation Showcase at this year’s Venturefest Manchester.

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Describe your business in no more than 100 words

Here at Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale Circle (HMR Circle) our primary activity is the reduction of social isolation amongst older people. We believe that people can be each other’s solution, and we back it up every day, week and month by helping each other out with life's practical bits and pieces.  

Circle is also about learning new things, and enjoying your hobbies and interests with others in the community. One number to call to help stay sorted, and a social network to help stay connected, that's the idea.

What prompted you to enter the Innovation Showcase competition? Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.

We recently won through a competition for Social Innovation organised by HACT which saw us present at the Manchester Central Exhibition Centre (formerly GMEX).

We see ourselves not just as Social Innovators but Business Innovators. We want to stand out. ‘Not for profit’ organisations like ourselves seldom get involved in showcases like this but we want to buck that trend.

Our innovation around the reduction of social isolation amongst older people works on the principle of basically giving people what they want and ask for rather that telling them what they should do. There is a huge amount of research behind our work and our bespoke CRM system which we have designed ourselves ensures maximum results from our activities.           

How would you describe that to a novice?

We get older people out and about, meeting new people, making new friends and doing the things they want to do!

What are the biggest challenges you face?

When we launched, we were initially part of a larger organisation that closed and we had to make the decision to either close ourselves or carry on. This coupled with entering a market place with long standing and entrenched providers meant we had to fight for every inch of traction.

What are your biggest professional achievements to date?

Gaining international recognition for our work.

How do you feel about exhibiting to potentially hundreds of people at Venturefest Manchester?

Genuinely excited! Can’t wait, we love telling people our story and the positive difference we make to people’s lives.

What would winning the Innovation Showcase mean to your business?

We know we are already on a successful trajectory, winning we believe would massively accelerate that success and increase our growth and expansion programme.

Where do you see your company in five years’ time?

In the next five year’s we see ourselves operating across the GM Region with further plans for national and international expansion

What advice would you give to aspiring innovators?

If someone says it won’t work, prove them wrong!