• Tebogo Gantsa

LifeBank founder crowned Africa's Business Hero


Temie Giwa-Tubosun was crowned Africa's Business Hero at the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative grand finale held on November 16 in Accra, Ghana. Image: Giwa-Tubosun

The founder and CEO of Nigeria based LifeBank Temie Giwa-Tubosun walked away with $250 000 as the winner of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) competition.

She was named Africa's Business Hero for 2019 at the grand finale held on 16 November in Accra, Ghana.

The initiative which identifies African entrepreneur heroes and uses their stories to inspire the continent is a Jack Ma Foundation programme.

Jack Ma started it on his first trip to Africa in 2017. Graca Machel and Ban Ki-moon are members of the ANPI advisory board in addition to Ma. The foundation has committed to run the competition for 10 years.

Giwa-Tubosun said it was an incredible honour to be named Africa’s Business hero. She said the prize money will give her resources to grow LifeBank and expand its presence in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

“I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa," Giwa-Tubosun said.

Second place went to Nawah founder and CEO Omar Sakr who won $150 000. Water Access Rwanda founder Christelle Kwizera took the third place and walked away with $100 000. The seven remaining participants walked away with $65 0000 each.

A total of $1 million in prizes was awarded to the ten participants who reached the final stages of the competition.

About 10 000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied for the competition.

In the finale event the 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to judges Jack Ma and the Executive Chairman of Econet Group Strive Masiyiwa.

The other two judges were the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Ibukun Awosika and the Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Joe Tsai.

Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative Finale Judges (from left to right) - Strive Masiyiwa, Jack Ma, Ibukun Awosika, and Joe Tsai. Image: Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative

Ma said the finalists should be an inspiration for Africa and the world. “Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities."

The idea for LifeBank came about when Giwa-Tubosun had to rush to hospital for an emergency C-section 30 weeks into her pregnancy. Her son was delivered safely in the US.

In the LifeBank website Giwa-Tubosun says she realised that if the child was delivered in Lagos there is a very strong likelihood that she could have died from postpartum hemorrhaging.

Postpartum hemorrhaging occurs when a woman loses more than 500 ml or 1000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours following childbirth.

She says this is a big problem in Nigeria and hospitals don’t know where to find donated blood or medicines that will help the mother and stop the bleeding.

To solve this she used Google Maps to create an online blood repository through a partnership with 52 blood banks in Lagos.

Source: LifeBank

The organisation now delivers much-needed medical products such as blood, blood products, oxygen and vaccines to hospitals across Africa. Since 2016 they have moved 17 744 units of blood to hospitals and screening centers using boats and motorcycles.

In October they added drones to the list of their delivery services in order to reach vulnerable people in remote areas.

The drone made its first delivery in Ethiopia with support from the country’s Information Network Security Agency and Drones Doing Good Alliance.

LifeBank's aim is to save a million African lives.

#LifeBank #AfricaNetpreneurPrizeInitiative #TemieGiwaTubosun #AfricaBusinessHeroes #JackMaFoundation

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