Nine. That’s how old Lucy Allen was when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (t1d). As she grew older, however, Lucy began to struggle with the lack of support available to young adults.
“T1d is a chronic illness with no solution. It’s a 24/7 mind load of having to manage, think and calculate every little move you make,” Lucy explains.
“There’s no success when it comes to t1d, it’s a constant balance of keeping your blood sugar levels within range. I grew up with this illness and while I enjoyed comprehensive care as a child, that level of support falls away as you get older.
“I found myself in a space where I felt very isolated. I was left to search the internet myself for information and sort through Google’s 50 million results – trying to find what’s best for you is close to impossible.”
So, when she enrolled in the Initiatives to Entrepreneurship subject as part of the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII), Lucy knew just what to do – develop an online solution to help people tackle t1d.
“I remember one of our tutors saying the best way to approach entrepreneurship is to find a sweet spot of something you have a lot of knowledge on and something you're really passionate about. For me the type one space was that perfect fit,” she says.
To help her develop the idea post-university, Lucy recruited two friends and fellow BCII graduates, Polina Pashkov and Eliza Marks. Together, the three joined UTS Startups and have been continuing to develop their idea on a part-time basis. Together, in August, they launched Stitch Hub – Australia’s first online platform that curates and personalises support resources for people living with t1d.
“Stitch Hub is essentially a one-stop shop that offers information on everything from support groups, to products to clinicians, so people have a choice in how they manage their illness.
“UTS Startups is the perfect place for us, it’s a workspace where we’re surrounded by people in similar startups but who are tackling completely different problems. There's this really beautiful exchange of mentorship, skill sharing and support – it’s fantastic.”
Since launching the platform to market, the feedback has been positive. Lucy says, “Users and the t1d community tell us that they feel like someone is finally building something for them, with an understanding of what they actually need and not just what they think they need.
“That’s not to say that Stitch Hub in its current form is exactly what people want or that it’s going to solve all their problems. But, we've got a list of features we're looking to release to ensure we continue to provide value to users.”
These include a review system that allows patients and clinicians to assess and rank resources and a management portal that allows users to collect and store details on things like supplies and appointments in one place.
“Every healthcare space is struggling with streamlining and connecting their services and putting the patient at the centre of this process. As Stitch Hub was built on those two foundation principles, people see a lot of value in the technology we’ve created, so we’re confident and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
For more information about Stich Hub visit stitchhub.org