The destiny of our continent is shaped by the greatness of our people.
You know this.
But what happens when the greatness that lies within you and is supposed to be developed over the course of a lifetime is being threatened when you are at your most vulnerable?
Imagine that you are born in a country that is the 2nd highest contributor to maternal and child deaths worldwide and where 2,300 under 5-year-olds die.
In other words, 839,500 under 5 year-olds die every year. And that is just in one country. On our continent.
In order for you to have a chance at developing your greatness, you first need to fight malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and HIV/AIDS within the first 5 years of existence on this planet.
Luckily, we have leaders that are appalled by this situation and who are developing innovative technological solutions to tackle this problem.
Meet Charles Immanuel Akhimien from Nigeria.
He is the co-founder of Mobicure, a company that provides mobile technology solutions to solve some of the most pressing health issues.
We had the opportunity to interview this extraordinary leader about his business, marketing
MOBicure was co-founded by two young people; two medical doctors from Nigeria (Dr Emmanuel Owobu and myself). Right from medical school we had always shared a passion
Specifically, we were both very appalled by the status of maternal and child health in Nigeria, where according to UNICEF, we are the second largest contributor to maternal and child deaths worldwide. We both attended the same medical school (the University of Benin), and by our final
We decided to create a platform called
Being doctors, my co-founder and I both had the medical expertise and the knowledge of the healthcare space to start the company. However, we lacked the technological expertise. That is why we needed to find others with the necessary technology experience and skills. We thus started to steadily build up our tech team which includes young, smart, innovative people who are motivated to change the face of healthcare in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Everyday Nigeria loses 2,300
The major reason for this high under-5 mortality is
At MOBicure, our core values are innovation and excellence and this reflects in all that we do particularly in hiring. We recruit people that are innovative and enthusiastic about doing things differently. Everyone in the team understands our mission, which is to bring healthcare to the fingertips of everyone using mobile technology and thus create a paradigm shift in the healthcare sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Coming up with a viable business model for my company and my innovation was no easy feat due in part to the fact that most of the people who need our services either cannot afford it or do not see sufficient reason to pay for our services.
This is coupled with the fact that a mobile health company was viewed with enormous scepticism at the beginning. In
Our innovation (
Actually, we now reach a little over 14,000 women with life-saving maternal and child health information, as well as access to medical personnel at the touch of a button.
These women have been reached through a combination of digital marketing and ‘on-the-ground’ marketing. We have successfully partnered with scores of health facilities and we already have a growing user base of young medical doctors using the MOTHERS’ COMMUNITY section of the
We have also taken advantage of social media (especially Facebook) to reach these women and to keep them, engaged. Perhaps our most effective strategy has been the use of mobile marketers (aka “foot ambassadors”). These are young people (mainly university undergraduates) whose jobs are to sign up women on the platform on a daily basis. These marketers would be paid on the basis of the number of users they successfully sign up.
Our biggest challenge is sustainability and making sure that we successfully implement our business model. Another challenge is marketing our innovation in order to reach even more women and spread the word of our innovation.
We are investing more in our marketing efforts and hiring more experienced personnel in order to improve both revenue generation and marketing of our innovation.
As a social enterprise, the measure of our success is based on how much social impact we can make whilst still sustainable.
Our innovation (
These are the most important habits in my view that lead social
The most important asset a person can have (especially an entrepreneur) is people. Over the years I have steadily built up a network of valuable connection leveraging on my networks and ties to the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the Global Startup Youth, Yunus & Youth, Royal Commonwealth Society, etc. This global network of contacts I have garnered over the years from attending events all around the world have been invaluable in advancing MOBicure in terms of raising funding, forging strong partnerships and getting the best people to come on our team.
President Obama said to us at the Town Hall for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship in Washington D.C. that “it’s all about the work”. This has been my guiding philosophy. I do what I do as a social entrepreneur and innovator because I am passionate about saving lives and for me, that is all that matters.
Don’t believe the hype!
Often times people will tell you how much good you’re doing and how much of a ‘rock star’ you are. While it is important to recognise that the work any social entrepreneur (innovator) does is great, it is even more important for social innovators to stay grounded and keep their feet firmly on the ground. We need to keep working and keep creating solutions.
Facebook; because with Facebook I can reach the world of my customers, partners, business networks, colleagues, in an instant!
Passion is not enough; the importance of using strong business acumen to make long-term decisions cannot be overemphasised.
Signing up 5,000 rural women on our SMS service in less than 3 months.
Let us know in the comments section below what the main lessons are that you have learnt and what challenges are that you are facing.
Rise Africa Rise is your online guide to tech entrepreneurship and (social) innovation for African entrepreneurs, startups and businesses. Our aim is to provide you with valuable digital strategies, tools and insights to support you in building a world-class and competitive business in the 21st century.