Yma's Second Birthday

Samantha Horwill
March 18, 2022

I was honoured to be invited to speak at the BioAccelerate2022, Be Inspired Day earlier this month. BioAccelerate is a business accelerator programme run by AberInnovation, and the event was a chance for the latest cohort of participants to hear from other entrepreneurs about their journeys so far.

In preparation for my slot, I took time to revisit the Yma story, reading the summaries of our early meetings and sessions when the business was just an idea. I recall the energy and vision emerging effortlessly through conversation and the purpose we landed on has been a pillar of our focus and priorities since our incorporation in March 2020.

The idea of a purpose-driven business appeared to strike a chord with the BioAccelerate audience, and it was a joy to reflect on our business model with them, in particular our choice of setting up as a not-for-profit social enterprise.

Over the next 12 months, primary care clusters in Wales will be embarking on a period of transition through the Accelerated Cluster Development Programme. Part of this transition will be the creation of primary care delivery businesses to enable a broader range of community-based services to be commissioned across Wales.

It occurs to me that these new ventures will all face the challenges and opportunities of a start-up, and that there may be reflections on our experience in setting up and developing the Yma story that would be helpful to share.

-         Show up: Starting something new is time-consuming, requiring focus and energy. It also means backing yourself and being vulnerable. I remember being challenged to “just get on with it” when I was dithering about whether anyone would be interested in what I was seeing in the system. Turns out, they were!

-         Be curious: This may be a peculiarity of our lens on health and care, and I have found an openness to possibility and relentless curiosity a really helpful place to be when trying to shape and guide an emerging business. Learning, listening, shifting and adjusting, incorporating at the beginning of a pandemic taught me how important it is to sense into your environment.

-         Find your ‘village’: From the small group of GPs that took a risk and spent two days walking and talking about what mattered to them, to the enthusiasm and commitment of our growing team and corridor coaching from colleagues at AberInnovation, not to mention the numerous people across the health and social care system in Wales and beyond that have taken time to listen to our story, our ambition and made offers of support and guidance. Without my village, I would not have been able to support the emergence and growth of Yma as a business.

-         Do what matters: I have found the grounding of our purpose as an organisation and the daily reminder of what people working in primary care actually need to service their patients, the most powerful guiding hand in making decisions. We exist in service to others, and there lies the magic.

-         Tell your story: Shout about your work from the rooftops! This is something I am terrible at by the way, even writing this article has been tough. It is essential that you work at telling your story to as many people, as often as possible. The opportunity to present to a room of actual people, in person, earlier this month, for the first time in 2 years was invigorating and inspiring! If you have a new idea, or you are some way down the track in developing your new venture – capture the journey - because you will need that content to tell great tales about your success in the future!

So, on this the second anniversary of Yma’s incorporation and ahead of our third year working in service to primary care in Wales, I would like to extend gratitude to all of you who have supported our team and our endeavours.

In particular I want to thank the Cluster Lead community across Wales who have fundamentally shifted our ability to make a difference in the system. Thank you for inviting us in to support and enable your vision, we exist for you and your communities, and I know that there is much to be done in the months and years ahead, together.

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