In January 2014, Brenda Katwesigye, a tech entrepreneur based in Uganda, built something only a true innovator could do. In a country where access to social services are limited, she created InstaHealth, a mobile app which instantly connects users to health centers, medical specialists and ambulance services, and allows them to share their health experiences with millions of people.
[Related: She Leads Africa Offering Up to $50,000 for Entrepreneurs]
Considering more than 40% of Ugandans have access to mobile devices, the app is a game-changer for the healthcare industry. “I started InstaHealth after working on a medical project at a university. I found there was a major challenge when it came to accessibility and affordability of health services,” said Katwesigye. “When I traveled to Moroto (a rural area about 500km from the capital, Kampala) during the course of the project, I fell sick and I had absolutely no idea where I was going to get any help at that point. That’s when the concept of InstaHealth clicked.”
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Katwesigye to learn more about her journey and the lessons learned along the way.
BlackEnterprise.com: Since launching your business, what has been your biggest challenge?
Katwesigye: The biggest challenge, so far, is managing the project to ensure that we do not continue to have scope creep. By this I mean, we have had so many brilliant ideas and we have been trying to make a perfect product, instead of launching what we have and improving it based on our user feedback. The other has been, hiring and retaining the right team.
How did you overcome these challenges?
My team and I decided to focus on one module for the system. We chose to start with the doctor consultation platform and release updates as needed.
Since launching Instahealth, what have you been most surprised to learn about yourself?
I can multitask. I have also learned that it’s important to prioritize tasks and handle them one by one.
What do you wish you had known then, that you know now?
A decisive leader is a strong leader. It’s important to lead a team and be able to decide on ways forward without always going round in circles.
What are your long-term goals for Instahealth?
We want to explore more options in building technologies for the health sector. Services tailored for doctors, nurses, the mass market, or even specialists. Our aim is to continue to innovate within the health sector.
What is your greatest achievement, personally and professionally?
To be able to get to this point with InstaHealth is a great achievement. I never dreamed that I would be part of a global accelerator in Silicon Valley (Blackbox Connect) or even be awarded by the International Telecommunication Union for this product. I have also grown so much as a leader. I’m ready to take the company to the next level.
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