Get-to-know Katarzyna Hess-Wiktor, founder and former WE Health participant

Katarzyna took part in the WE Health Module 1 in Stockholm and shares her story as the founder of Minnity and her learning from the workshop.

What motivated and inspired you to start your business?

My first experience of dementia was when my grandma developed Alzheimer’s disease. To see her gradually lose the ability to remember things, orientate herself or recognize her family was very difficult for me. A couple of years later, I’ve decided to focus my PhD research on the experience of family caregiver’s of people with Alzheimer’s. Since then, I have been working with people with dementia and their caregivers and my focus has been on training in communication skills. I have realized that professionals need smart tools which can facilitate good communication with those they care for. Also, I’ve understood that the way we teach about dementia has to change to adapt to the real needs of those who will most benefit from it. Somebody had to do it, so I’ve set up Minnity.

Tell us about your business…

Minnity creates intuitive digital tools for professional dementia carers to support them in delivering person-centered care. We combine my expertise in dementia care with my partner’s experience in IT development and work closely with our end users – home care assistants to begin with – to build solutions fitting their needs. In collaboration with two crafty developers/designers we’re working on an intuitive and flexible tool.

We are looking into expanding our team with people passionate about business development and marketing to make our offer even better adapted to the European long-term-care markets.

What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business? And how did you overcome these challenges?

Until recently, I haven’t even imagined myself as a startup founder. There are so many things I don’t know about business management and development! My way to deal with it is to take one thing at a time, keep on learning and ask for help or advice when possible.

What was your biggest success as an entrepreneur so far?

Minnity won the regional competition round in the European Health Catapult (EHC) competition and will be representing Digital Health startups from Scandinavia in the semifinals. I am happy my pitch convinced the jury, although I am fully aware there is much to improve. Looking forward to the training and networking opportunities in Erlangen!

Last year you took part in the WE Health programme. Do you recall of any change you have made in your personal/professional life? / What impact did the workshop have on you?

The WE Health intense workshop I participated in April gave me a huge load of energy and ideas. The different role models presented, the variety of backgrounds and experiences of the participants and the load of advice heard made me realize that the most important thing is to choose what works best for me. And that there is no perfect entrepreneur, just people finding ways to make their ideas real. I came out of the workshop with a strong conviction that I can be an entrepreneur, too.

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

There is so much advice out there that navigating it is quite a challenge. I would dare to add one tip to it: know what you are good at and have the courage to use it. Building on your strengths makes you effective and authentic.