Women in Doctorpreneurship in Africa; The Way Forward PART 2


Hamza Asumah, MD

As I mentioned in my previous publication, a lot of effort has gone into redefining the way women are perceived in African business. Given the numerous success stories of women doctorpreneurs on the continent in recent years, it is worthwhile to draw some valuable lessons and apply them moving forward. In Africa, we definitely need more doctorpreneurs.

Women make up 7 in 10 health and social care workers globally and contribute $3 trillion annually to global health — although half is in the form of unpaid care work. The WHO also highlighted, however, that women’s representation in the most highly paid health occupations has been improving steadily since 2000.

Photo by howemadeitinafrica

However, while women’s participation in the health sector is high, the WHO notes that more policies are needed to address inequities, eliminate gender-based pay discrimination (with an overall gender pay gap of around 28% in the health workforce), remove barriers to full-time employment, and support access to professional development and leadership roles.

Let’s look at some women who are pushing these boundaries of doctorpreneurship:

  1. Dr Ola Orekunrin, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria

Dr Ola is the pioneer behind West Africa’s first air ambulance service providing urgent helicopter, airplane ambulance and evacuation services for critically injured people. 

www.flyingdoctorsnigeria.com

  1. Melissa Bime, founder of Infiuss, Cameroon

As a nurse, Melissa Bime saw a huge challenge in her country’s hospitals – getting essential blood supplies to those in need in order to save lives. So she became an impact entrepreneur, launching her online blood bank Infiuss as a solution.

Infiuss.org

  1. Jacqueline Kiage, founder of Innovation Eye Centre, Kenya

Jacqueline Kiage started a world-class social enterprise eye clinic in rural Kenya to tackle preventable blindness and give hope back to patients. Today, Innovation Eye Centre, provides life-enhancing eye surgery and specialist eye care to patients that is affordable and accessible.

innovationeyecentre.co.ke

Photo of Dr Ola Orekunrin, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria

How can you improve your chances and the odds of being successful as a female doctorpreneur. These are a few suggestions:

First, according to research, men are more confident in their pitching techniques than women. Women are less comfortable pitching, which can make their pitches less compelling. The female doctorpreneur in Africa can overcome this by doing the following: When pitching, know all of the facts and figures and concentrate on the finances. Work on developing a confident presentation style. Create an effective pitch deck.

Second, Confidence and mindset are critical in business, and the more self-belief and resilience you have, the more you can stand up to and overcome societal biases. To obtain funding, you must be extremely proactive. The more you spread your message, build credibility, and establish the “know, like, and trust” factor, the more likely people will be willing to invest when you ask.

Third, don’t wait for an invitation to participate; open the door yourself.

Fourth, Have a clear business plan

Fifth, invest in other women, when you’re in a position to do so

Lastly, Keep your eyes firmly on your finances

According to McKinsey’s estimations, if women and men could start and grow businesses at an equal rate, the global GDP would likely increase by $28 trillion by 2025. This is excellent news for the world’s economy. There’s no question that Africa has its share of entrepreneurial success stories but let’s hope that these top challenges faced by female doctorpreneurs in Africa become a thing of the past, and women get their equal slice of the pie sooner rather than later. Please do share your thoughts in the comment section below


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