Venture Spotlight: Emergency Response Africa

The Health Entrepreneurship (HENT) Challenge’s first cohort is getting ready for their upcoming visit to Toronto, where they will continue their implementation phase through activities targeting business development, expanding entrepreneurial networks and facilitating exposure to potential investors.

In the meantime, the HENT Communications team caught up with the ventures from the first HENT Challenge cohort to learn more about the origins of their companies, what they’ve learned to date, and what is coming up next…

In 2017, Folake Owodunni called 911 after her one-year-old son awoke in the night in excruciating pain. Paramedics arrived quickly to the scene and delivered care. Within an hour her son was safely and comfortably asleep once more. After the incident, Owodunni, who had immigrated to North America from Nigeria, reflected on how different the outcome of this situation would have been back home. Shortly after she met Co-Founder Maame Poku, who had lost a family member in Ghana due to slow emergency response. Together, they started Emergency Response Africa and are saving lives by connecting the largest network of first responders, emergency vehicles, and hospitals to patients in needing urgent emergency care, within minutes of the call. Their solution relies on smart dispatching, seamless communication, and data transfer to make care as quick and effective as possible. 

What is the accomplishment to date that your team is most proud of?  

Since launching in 2021, we have addressed several thousand emergency requests for individuals and organizations and trained more than 500 individuals in the community with first aid skills. Our network size has grown immensely. 

If you could give advice to another founder getting started, what would that be?  

Starting a business is a rollercoaster of emotions, with highs and lows, successes and failures. Surround yourself with a supportive network, learn from your mistakes, and stay focused on your passion. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed and remember that with every challenge comes an opportunity for growth. 

Looking forward, Emergency Response Africa’s team aims to work towards their mission of making quick emergency response services to all of Africa by reducing average wait times by 80%. A second milestone for their team is to launch a major public sector partnership before the end of 2023, a goal which would enable the venture to collaborate with government agencies and other stakeholders to provide improved emergency services to vulnerable populations.

You can learn more about Emergency Response Africa

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