A Nigerian entrepreneur, Temie Giwa-Tubosun walk away with the Jack Ma Foundation’s first annual prize for African businesses. Temie Giwa-Tubosun also won $250,000 as cash prize from the $1 million which was available from the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) which was started by a Chinese investor Jack Ma. The organization says every year for the next 10 years, it will award a $1 million grant to 10 African entrepreneurs.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun who is also the founder and CEO of LifeBank, a blood and oxygen delivery company based in Lagos Nigeria which helps to connect registered blood banks to hospitals and patients in need of urgent blood supplies. She said in her speech that, “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.”
She further announced at the ‘African Business Heroes’ event held on Saturday in Accra, Ghana that LifeBank will start delivering blood through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), known as drones. She said the decision to add drones to their mobility fleet was to get blood to patients who live in areas that are hard to reach. She explained on CNN that, “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”. So the drones will help to supply blood in emergency situations where patients are hard to reach.
She also continued that, without any human control, the drones are programmed to automatically pick up samples from blood banks and deliver to laboratories or hospitals. Giwa-Tubosun did a test in Ethiopia for weeks using drones to remote areas and it was successful. She says apart from Ethiopia, LifeBank drone delivery services will also be tested and launched in other regions including Nigeria. “We have the results of the success, and we’re going to do the same in another country, perhaps Nigeria,” she added. Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populated nation, needs up to 1.8 million units of blood every year, according to Nigeria’s health ministry, but the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) only collect about 66,000 units per year, leaving a deficit of more than 1.7million pints of blood. So this drones will help many people in remote areas. Their dispatch riders will pick up specified units of blood from blood banks, store it in their motorbike’s cold chain transport box and deliver it to the required hospital quickly.
A partnering with Google has enabled the company to incorporate Google maps into its mobile application, mapping out locations connecting doctors, hospitals, blood banks and dispatch riders. It has about 10,000 applicants from 50 African countries were cut down to just 10 for the “Africa’s Business Heroes,” finale event, held Saturday in Accra, Ghana.
The final 10 inclined their businesses to four judges, including Ma, Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, Joe Tsai, Vice Chairman Alibaba Group and banking boss Ibukun Awosika.The second and third place in the award were Egyptian Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific and Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda who were each awarded with $150,000 and $100,000.And the remaining finalists walked away with $65,000 each for their businesses.