We thought we'd share with you, dear readers, why we are bullish on our for profit social enterprise marketplace approach to global health technologies.
1) Suppliers and manufacturers: suppliers and manufacturers are accustomed to dealing with other businesses. We find that being a business and operating with business principles is optimal when negotiating contracts with suppliers and manufacturers.
2) Like products should be marketed together: the status quo is that there are now literally hundreds of global health entrepreneurs all going after many of the same markets. Each time, the entrpreneur has to learn the ropes from scratch, often spending years in the process. We think it is a no brainer for like products to be marketed together in one online marketplace
This post addresses three reasons why investing in global health technology startup companies is a good idea. It is not meant to denigrate non-profits and universities, for there are non-profits, large and small, that do phenomenal work across the globe. In fact their stellar programs, policies, research and pilots are the evidence base around which much of the swirl of innovation in this area circles. But having collectively spent a great deal of time in the worlds of academia and non-profits, there are some advantages to startup companies that are well worth highlighting. There are at least three good reasons why startups are a good idea for sparking and commercializing global health technologies:
As a small departure from our usual blog, we thought it would add some insight about the kinds of barriers that small global health startups face. These are the mundane, day to day issues that can actually make or break you in the end. While we try to be relentlessly positive about the exciting new technologies coming down the pike, sometimes one has to be just brutally honest about obstacles faced.
1. International shipping
Oh, let us count the ways that international shipping can sneak in and foil best laid plans--wet packages left out in the rain in Bali? check (zip loc is your friend) hemoglobinometers stuck in customs and then returned from the Ukraine? check. Bribes and fees? Our partners face them all the time.
While we like to focus on highly practical solutions that improve maternal survival, we are also interested in solutions still in research and development. Artificial or synthetic blood is one such invention that could change everything. There are several reasons why a woman might need a blood transfusion-chief among them severe anemia or blood loss due to postpartum hemorrhage. Right now, a blood transfusion requires a blood banking system, something that is difficult for many lower-level health facilities. What's more, an enormous number of the transfusions in lower-resource settings are not tested for HIV and Hepatitis. Women are brought in on stretchers, in buses and in cars to facilities where it is often impossible to save them because blood is not available. Story after story is told of husbands and family members rushing around looking for a blood donor. How different could it be if stores of synthetic blood were available?
This short clip uses black and white shadowy claymation type figures and yet does a better job than most PSAs we've seen in summing up the effect of maternal mortality on families and on the globe. It was done by Art Center for Design for UNFPA.
Our passion is in information design... that saves lives. This graphic depicts our vision for how Maternova will help or organize the field of innovation for maternal/newborn health
This is cross-posted from the Women Make News website for which the article was originally written.