Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016 - Dr Elaine Saunders
Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016 - Dr Elaine Saunders, CEO, Blamey Saunders hears. Preserving our hearing – and our pockets. Dr Saunders is an audiologist, innovator and an entrepreneur who has worked over the past 20 years to successfully disrupt hearing service provision in Australia, through challenging current business and pricing models, and improving technology in partnership with inventor Professor Peter Blamey. Her initiatives have created approximately 100 high tech jobs in the past 20 years and culminated in the development of the IHearYou® self fit hearing aid system and remote tele-audiology support model. Dr Saunders is CEO of Blamey Saunders hears, which has commercialised these technologies to overcome cost and distance barriers and address premium hearing aid accessibility. Its mission is to improve hearing for four million Australians who would benefit from hearing aids but have not been helped by the existing audiology service model. Earlier in her career she worked at the Bionic Ear Institute on the new generation of electrode arrays for Cochlear Ltd and later was a project manager and commercialisation manager for CRC Hear. In 2000, she and Professor Blamey won the inaugural Melbourne Business School Entrepreneurs’ Challenge. She was the founding CEO of their first CRC Hear spinoff, Dynamic Hearing Pty Ltd, which supplied hearing aid signal processing equipment to the hearing aid and headset industry. Their second start-up, Australia Hears Pty Ltd, which became Blamey Saunders hears, developed and contracts manufacture of high-quality hearing aids, which it sells direct to clients at around one third of current industry pricing – using three disruptive products: - A Speech Perception Test, which allows anyone to test their hearing online for free; - The IHearYou® system, which enables clients to adjust their hearing aids by computer or mobile phone (a world first) and provides an internet audiology interface; and - Incus, a device which provides a Bluetooth interface between hearing aids and IHearYou®.