Exclusive: Health care training device company moving to Jacksonville


Exclusive: Health care training device company moving to Jacksonville

OneSpark runner-ups put their money where their mouths are and are moving their business to Jacksonville.

Jun 28, 2016, 8:09am EDT

Jensen Werley Reporter Jacksonville Business Journal

A health care training device company is moving to Jacksonville about three months after coming in second at OneSpark's Spark Tank event. B&G Educational Innovations, based in Maryland, produces devices such as sleeves to practice inserting an IV to help students not only learn technical skills but bedside manner.

The company had been awarded a spot in the PS27 Ventures Accelerator and while at OneSpark, the panel of judges asked if B&G would consider moving to Northeast Florida if it were to win SparkTank. “We looked at the environment to see if our product was viable, and it was the right thing to do,” CEO Elizabeth Benson told the Business Journal. “We checked on manufacturers and talked to schools. So when they asked would we come, why wouldn’t we?

Next week, the Bensons — Jim, with a longtime background in communications, handles public relations, while registered nurse Elizabeth is CEO — will make the move to Jacksonville, where they have been working closely with Chris Carter of One Spark Ventures. Their patent lawyer, Joe Kincart, is in Jacksonville, and B&G works with Melbourne-based engineers at Micro Aerospace Solutions for designing the product and prototype.

Over the next few months, Benson said she will continue to work with OneSpark Ventures for business development and with engineer Don Platt to create the prototype. The other half of the company, Linda Goodman, also a registered nurse, will stay in Maryland to continue developing their team and testing there.

“Splitting the team feels like our force is multiplying,” Benson said. “It works for us to be in two locations.” The plan is to test the products later this year at about a dozen different sites, including a few in the Jacksonville area. The first product will be a sleeve for IV sticks and drawing blood that collects data and a recorder to document how the student is speaking to the patient.

After the testing, B&G plan to use a manufacturer in Northeast Florida to mass-produce the simulators. Benson said she has had conversations with global distributors that could get the product into developing countries.

“It’s been non-stop,” Benson said. “I'd say we have divine intervention. Not to say we’re not working our butts off. But every time there’s a roadblock, it’s overcome with an even better option. Every time it happens, the next option is even better.”

And coming to Jacksonville, she said, is one of those options that works well for her. “It’s got support and a great environment,” she said, “it feels like Jacksonville is the place to be.”