A team of students has won £10,000 in a Dragon's Den style competition for their idea to improve access to healthcare in Uganda using mobile phones.
Team SasaDoc were presented with their award at a prize-giving ceremony held on Wednesday, after securing £10,000 worth of start-up investment at I&EStart! Challenge held at Imperial College Business School.
Ten shortlisted teams were given the opportunity to present their business plans to a judging panel of professional venture capitalists and angel investors who provide capital for a business start-up.
SasaDoc, made up of MBA students at the Business School and two service designers from the Royal College of Art, have developed a premium text and voice message service which would allow Ugandans to receive doctor consultations over the phone. Users of the service will pay a fee to text a number which will connect them to doctors in order to receive medical advice. A portion of the revenue generated by this service will then be used to fund projects that aim to improve access to doctors and healthcare for Ugandans who cannot afford to pay.
Uganda's healthcare performance is ranked as one of the worst in the world by the World Health Organisation, with the country ranked 186th out of 191 nations. Many Ugandans do not have access to healthcare, with one doctor for every 13,000 patients in some areas. One of the biggest hurdles for many people is the time and expense involved in travelling to see a doctor, costing an average of around £9. As a result life expectancy is around 49 years of age.
SasaDoc hope to address this issue by capitalising on Uganda’s growing mobile phone industry to help to bring more medical care to people in Uganda, as 95 per cent of Ugandans have access to a mobile phone. The team have already been out to Uganda to conduct market research on their product.
The I&EStart! Challenge was the culmination of the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Design Programme. Student teams with the business plans that had the best potential were selected by academics from the Entrepreneurship Hub at the Business School to enter the Competition.
Maxine Myers caught up with the judges to find out why they choose SasaDoc as the winner. She also spoke to the winning teams to learn more about their successful idea.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
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