Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and your experience.
I am the last born of 6 children and was raised by both my Parents. I grew up in Entebbe, a town about 38km from the capital but well-developed since the national airport is in this area. I went to university in the capital, Kampala at Makerere University and did Computer Science. In my first year, I was already taken up by app development and this pushed me to become an innovator. My big focus was on health and looking for solutions that made healthcare more accessible and affordable. While growing up, I saw many of my relatives struggle to get access to healthcare or access to the right information and this was a determinant in developing Spanhealth.
Please describe your company story. What led you to start your social business? How did you come up with the idea to start your social business?
Spanhealth has 4 founders, 3 of whom are computer scientists and one Doctor. We came together after realizing that we all had the same attitude toward how cancer care and treatment needed improvement in our country. This made us start Spanhealth and our focus has always been to create an environment that will enable cancer patients to carry out treatment on their own terms.
What is the main challenge you want to solve?
Often when a person is diagnosed with cancer, they feel ALONE! We want to offer a space where this is not the case. Creating a community of cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors, all sharing stories of how they dealt with cancer gives a feeling of “company” to a patient. They feel less alone. With this, we have also looked to solve the problem of lack of access to the right information about cancer by providing well-researched articles on different cancers and how treatment around these has evolved over time. Currently, we are also tracking symptoms of patients through our platform. This informs oncologists and helps them come up with the right treatment plans which have the input of the patient too!
How did you first hear about the social business concept? When did you realize you were leading a social business?
Back in 2014, I first heard about the social business concept during the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition. From that day, I realized that I needed to work on something around social business and my goal has always been to provide positive impact.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? And the least?
I enjoy the iteration process. Nothing works in one go and whenever I have to iterate and switch up things, that feeling is really scary but also really good.
The thing I enjoy the least about being an entrepreneur is the constant reminder that there has to be a balance between family and work.
What is the most important lesson you learned in your journey as a social entrepreneur so far?
Being inclusive gives you way more options in terms of talent acquisition
How did you hear about the Y&Y Fellowship Program?
What motivated you to apply?
I felt that I would be in contact with people of like minds.
How has your journey as a Y&Y Fellow been so far?
It has been an interesting journey with lots of learning. I love the mentor sessions and the weekly calls always come with something new.
Why is it important to have the support of a mentor?
What advice would you give to a young person who is starting a social business?
Focus on creating the change you want to see and do not give up but rather give more!
What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the Y&Y Fellowship Program?
I would want them to grab the chance with both hands and apply because it will greatly impact their social business in a positive way.