Of 10 finalists, Temie Giwa-Tubosun has walked away with the first prize from the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI). Temie Giwa- Tubosun is the founder and C.E.O of Lifebank. Lifebank is a blood and oxygen delivery company based out in Lagos State, Nigeria.
They link blood banks to hospitals and patients who crucially need blood supplies. A whooping sum of $250,000 cash prize was given to Temie Giwa-Tubosun, out of the $1 million made available to the ANPI.
The ANPI was started by Chinese Investor, Jack Ma, and promises to give a $1 million grant to 10 African entrepreneurs annually for the next 10 years.
This year no less than 10,000 people applied from 50 African countries. Of this number, 10 finalists were eventually chosen for the African Business Heroes grand finale which took place in Accra, Ghana on Saturday.
The finalists pitched their business before four judges in the persons of Jack Ma, Zimbabwean business tycoon, Strive Masiyiwa, Vice Chairman Alibaba Group, Joe Tsai, businesswoman and chairman of First Bank Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika.
Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific from Egypt, came second and was awarded $150,000 while Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda came third and walked away with $100,000. The other finalists were given $65,000 each for their businesses.
In Giwa-Tubosun’s words “The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa.”
During the African Business Heroes Award event , Giwa-Tubosun stated that in order to reach hospitals or patients in dire need of blood supplies who happen to be in areas that are difficult to reach, they will start delivering blood through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, among other means of delivery like dispatch riders and boats. However, they will only use UAVs in situations of emergency where it is proving difficult to reach the patient.
Giwa-Tubosun also spoke about LifeBank’s findings after researching the best situations to use drones for supplies. According to her “After running our operations for three years we knew that there were some patients we could not reach on time. Like areas where there are bandits on the road so we need to fly”
The automated drones are programmed to pick up blood samples from blood banks and deliver them to hospitals and laboratories without it being controlled by anyone remotely.
LifeBank in partnership with Information Network Security Agency (INSA), the Ethiopian government agency that man’s the exploration of technology, did a test run on the use of drones for blood delivery and it turned out a success.
“What we did in Ethiopia… was like a research project to show that we can deliver these critical supplies. We did that for a couple of weeks and it was successful” she said.
They plan to launch the drone deliveries in other regions besides Ethiopia where it has been proven successful. According to her “We have the results of the success, and we’re going to do the same in another country, perhaps Nigeria,”
LIFEBANK AND THE NIGERIAN HEALTH SPACE
LifeBank has also made its impact in the Nigerian health space and plans to do more by aiding an increased supply of blood annually. According to the Nigerian ministry of health, the annual demand for blood supplies in Nigeria is up to 1.8 million units, but the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) meets only about 66,000 units annually, leaving a deficit of more than 1.7million units of blood.
Recently, LifeBank has partnered with Google, incorporating Google maps into its mobile application. With this, mapping out locations, creating an efficient network of doctors, blood banks, hospitals, and LifeBank’s dispatch riders.
Stories such as these should go a long way in inspiring the youths of Africa who have great ideas that can change the world. It all begins with a first small step and believing in your dream and ideas. The next step is acting on those ideas and seeking like-minds who can help you achieve your goals.