From idea to business: ESTEPS wins “Match the Future” competition
The idea of the young Bologna-based team composed of Nidhal Louhichi, Marco Di Felice and Davide Giosuè Lippolis, ESTEPS aims to combat motor disability in the lower limbs of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Milan, 18th March 2021 - The NEET tax, an acronym for "Not in Education, Employment or Training", is considered the main measure of how much a community squanders the potential of the new generations and looks to the future with less productive and competitive capacity. The pandemic has further exacerbated a situation that was already dramatic in Italy in recent years, with around one in four young people neither studying nor working.
Offering young people who fall into this category an opportunity for personal and professional relaunch through entrepreneurial education: this is the aim of Junior Achievement Italia's NEETs in Entrepreneurship: Match the Future initiative. The NEETs in Entrepreneurship three-year project that started in November 2018 and will continue until mid-2021, with an ambitious goal: to involve 400 young NEETs nationwide, creating 10 startups funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.
Among the 10 winning ideas, each of which will receive funding of EUR 6,500 and will be supported in the start-up process, is ESTEPS from Bologna. The start-up aims to combat the increase in motor disability in the lower limbs by proposing customised, sustainable and high-tech solutions for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis thanks to biomechanics and tele-rehabilitation protocols.
People with severe multiple sclerosis (MS) can lose the ability to walk unaided. It is essential to provide continuous functional assessment to define an effective and personalised drug therapy and useful monitoring for timely intervention with targeted physiotherapy. This functional assessment is particularly important for the patient with an early stage of the disease to keep for as long as possible the personal and functional autonomy necessary to maintain a working and social role.Created by Nidhal Louhichi, Marco Di Felice and Davide Giosuè Lippolis, ESTEPS has developed an artificial intelligence-based system to provide doctors with suggestions for possible personalised treatments and to assist them in assessing effectiveness remotely. The solution is based on a self-powered smart footbed connected to a patient's mobile app. The patient uses an "invisible" device that allows him to perform balance tests and walk directly from home. His data is sent securely to a cloud and the doctor can view it remotely via his dashboard, and with predictive algorithms he is able to anticipate worsening of the disease, thus having time to change therapy and intervene well in advance on the patient's health.