Since arriving in the UK from China 18 years ago, Drs. Chen Mao Davis has learned to speak English fluently, created new CGI technologies for Oscar and BAFTA winning films, became a mother and now started her own business LatchAid.
Yesterday – on International Women’s Day – she was awarded an Innovate UK Women in Innovation AwardOnly 40 nationwide awards out of 750 applicants! Catherine Green, UK’s EDGE SW Innovation and Growth Specialist for Innovate, persuaded Chen and guided him through the application process.
The chain will now receive a £ 50,000 grant, Bespoke Growth Support, and will visit schools to promote entrepreneurship and innovation to young women and girls.
Breastfeeding new mothers
Chen’s Gloucestershire-based business, LatchAid, was born as a new mother from her own struggles.
“I was determined to breastfeed my baby,” Chen says, “it’s natural, it’s the relationship, it gives antibodies to the baby, but no one told me how difficult and painful it can be.
“Midwives are under tremendous pressure and, sadly, do not always have the resources to provide one-to-one breastfeeding guidance during the mother’s stay in the hospital. By the time I left the hospital, I was already damaged and in pain. “
“It went on for days with mastitis and thrush; The crying mother and baby lost weight while weaning, and I developed postpartum depression. “
Chen pulled in with the help of an understanding health visitor and other mothers who had similar experiences – some of whom still regret it. She says, “As a technologist, I was clearly shocked by the lack of innovation at this place.” We had peer support groups once a week, which was helpful – but what about 2am when you are alone, in pain and at your lowest point? “
During the epidemic, the problem has worsened. LatchAid’s September 2020 survey 706 new mothers found that 75% felt lonely and isolated, while 81% reported that they did not receive the necessary support during the epidemic.
The LatchAid platform uses a combination of state-of-the-art 3D technology, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual peer support groups and online “live” experts to help women teach breastfeeding skills and provide them with personal expertise and emotional support 24/7 . base.
Chen created the app with an “army” of female colleagues; Top lactation consultants, marketing experts and women she worked with while developing CGI technologies for Oscar-winning films like Gravity.
By bringing these specialties and techniques together, LatchAid has been able to provide detailed 3D animations to mothers – demonstrating how the baby should take the mother’s organ in its mouth, achieving a ‘deep latch’ that breast Prevents damage to
Mums can also connect with LatchAid’s AI-powered chatbot, which will answer questions at any time of the day or night.
“Lactation consultants are asked the same question hundreds of times, so we programmed chatbots to offer advice on these issues. It is smart enough to understand natural language, even when mom is tired, inconsistent or has no idea what she is actually asking – it will fulfill her. “
If the chatbot cannot answer, a lactation specialist will step in to talk directly with the mother. Mums can also use the peer support network on the app, sharing their pain and benefits with other women undergoing the same experience.
UK EDGE Support for Women at Innovation Award
Although the chain has already been successful with the Innovate UK funding competitions, she initially felt that the Women in Innovation Award was a step ahead. Innovation and Growth Specialist Catherine Green of Innovative Age UK persuaded her to give it a chance and also provided a critical evaluation of her application to grant grant expert Kim Howat.
“I knew the pass rate would be lower than the usual Innovate UK competitions, so Catherine and Kim’s support was really important. They helped me make my application as simple, persuasive, obedient and powerful as possible – their advice really did Helped to refresh my knowledge of writing grant applications. “
“I am really full of energy to do this now and am excited to see the LaChad launch on the AppStore in the Spring in 2021”
Chain’s advice to budding entrepreneurs
One of Chen’s new duties as an Innovation Award-winning woman will be to visit schools and persuade more women and girls to pursue careers in innovation and entrepreneurship.
“I think no one is born to be an entrepreneur, a risk-taker, or a brave one.” I was growing up quietly, but entrepreneurship pushed me out of my shell.
Chen acknowledges that this is a long and arduous journey – she uses bamboo simples, which over seven years have developed intricate pathways underground, emerging from the soil as one of the world’s fastest growing plants before.
“I built this app and platform while doing motherhood and another job – entrepreneurship is about your flexibility when something happens and not be afraid to fail, because your best efforts are already a great success. “