QUA INC is a New Rochelle-based healthcare firm focused on commercializing the PPAL®, a patented innovative bedside commode that enables adults with lower extremity weakness to safely self-toilet. Conceptualized by QUA founder Peg Graham, the PPAL®’s mission is to resolve bedside commode transfer difficulties, lower the risk of falling, and reduce caregiver burden associated with toileting assistance for people with mobility issues.
QUA patented the innovations associated with this new product including an internal lift to elevate/lower the seat and a securely attached transfer board that enables those with limited mobility to transfer themselves. The firm subsequently hired a design firm to develop a working prototype in the hopes of bringing the PPAL® to market. To build on this, QUA partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology to refine the prototype design and recruit wheelchair users to compare the use of the refined PPAL® versus their usual experience transferring between a commode and a bed.
As her firm prepared to apply for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant award to test for usability and safety, Peg connected with Pace University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Advisor Sandra Cely for assistance. Sandra served as a sounding board for the firm as they developed their proposal, and provided guidance and recommendations to strengthen their budget and implement program accounting best practices.
In September 2020, QUA was awarded a $150,000 SBIR Phase I grant through NIH for further testing of their innovative technology, enabling the firm to create three new jobs. According to founder Peg Graham, "The Pace SBDC’s budget templates helped us to wrap our minds around the various costs associated with an SBIR grant, and the market research provided through the NYSBDC Research Network helped shape our research strategy. We will be sure to stay in touch, knowing that we plan to submit an application for the much larger Phase II application in the coming year."