A Fishers-based business that creates portable hand-washing stations for immobile hospital patients is planning to invest $584,000 in the company and create 25 new jobs by the end of 2024.
Angie Washburn is the founder, CEO and sole employee of Project Process LLC.
The 3-year-old company, based in the Indiana IoT Lab at 9059 Technology Lane, manufactures portable hand-washing kits. Its product, called Portare, works by suspending a perforated tray of water over a collection bag, thereby giving bed-ridden patients the ability to wash their hands with dry sheets of soap and water.
Washburn, a respiratory therapist, started the company after a family member died from an infection acquired at a hospital.
“Our mission is to bring hand-washing to those that can’t get to a traditional sink,” Washburn said.
Project Process and Purdue University have partnered to beta test the system at Hancock Regional Hospital in Greenfield, Grace at Home patient sites and in other environments. In addition to the medical field, Washburn said there might be potential applications in the agriculture industry.
“We’re at the very infant stage of that,” Washburn said. “So far, so good. We’ve had really good feedback on adoptability. Patients are really excited that they’ll have the opportunity to wash their hands. We’re gaining valuable feedback and tweaking as we go.”
The company’s first 30 units were manufactured at Purdue, but the company has quickly grown to manufacture another 100 units at the 25,000-square-foot shared laboratory in Fishers, Washburn said.
To support the firm’s potential growth, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Project Process up to $285,000 in conditional tax credits based on the job-creation goals.
The company’s planned investment will go toward hiring and leasing and equipping office space. Project Process is considering moving to new location as production increases.
Washburn plans to add positions in sales, marketing and manufacturing starting next year.
“We think, through the end of this year, we’ll maintain our space there without having to secure additional office space or real estate,” Washburn said. “I’d like to keep manufacturing local.”
Washburn said the pandemic actually slowed hospitals’ adoption of the Portare, despite a greater emphasis on the need for hand-washing.
“We were having really strong working relationships with the area hospitals, but then the pandemic hit, and it was essential personnel only. They didn’t want to talk to something new; they were in survival mode,” she said.
In addition to creating the product, Washburn said she’s contacted her local state representatives to push for required patient hand-care programming.
“There are no protocols that exist—systematically—for patient hand care, and it’s really important that patients wash their hands,” Washburn said. “There are some things that just can’t be addressed by alcohol sanitizer.”