Ugandan entrepreneur, Brenda Katwesigye wanted to become a medical doctor since she was a little girl. She was so interested in the health sector and wanted to make a difference. However, her medical doctor dreams did not happen. She went ahead to become a telecommunications engineer but realized that she could still do something to help her first love – the health sector.
Brenda was going to use her tech skills to improve the access Ugandans had to health care. When the opportunity to share her ideas came through the ITU Young Innovator’s Competition she took advantage of it and it paid off. She received seed funding to start the company, InstaHealth.
Instahealth is focused on tackling the plastic waste problem in Africa – through up cycling them into affordable products such as eyewear and construction materials.
It uses geo-location and an interactive voice response (IVR) system to instantly connect users to health centers, specialists and ambulances, whilst also providing an instant first aid guide, doctor consultations and health awareness information. This service is built on very simple technologies that more than 40 per cent of Ugandan population can access.
Brenda who originally focused on eyewear, soon saw the tremendous business opportunities with the infrastructure boom in Africa, she broadened her product offerings to include construction materials. Now she is focused on generating jobs – and decent ones. “We now have over 20 plastic collectors, many of whom are women. We provide them decent wages and we also buy health insurance for them” said Brenda.
Her advice to other entrepreneurs is this, “Focus on the product. A lot of questions will come up about how you make money. But if you focus on creating a quality product that people will use to solve real life challenges, there will always be opportunities to monetize your solution.
The future is indeed bright for Brenda as she envisions Wazi Recycling Industries’ contribution to the green future for Africa. “As a business, we also hope to create a movement of people beginning to look at waste as value and starting to sort it even at household level.” Brenda is creating inclusive growth, not one that achieves growth at the expense of our planet.