Our model in detail
Healthy Entrepreneurs identifies potential entrepreneurs with basic knowledge of health care, a secondary school diploma and preferably women. During their training, they learn about basic health the set of health products and entrepreneurial skills needed to establish their own health business.
Each entrepreneur invests $40 USD and receives a starter kit with basic medical products worth $70 USD on credit. The entrepreneurs pays back the initial credit within one year.
The entrepreneur also receives a solar-powered phone. This phone is used for educating clients, promoting new products and ordering new stock. The Healthy Entrepreneurs team can also use the phone to monitor the entrepreneurs’ activity.
One thing that sets the Healthy Entrepreneurs model apart is the management of our own end-to-end distribution chain. We buy reliable products as cheaply as possible and deliver them directly to the entrepreneurs on site via a local depot.
Over 2 billion people worldwide live in remote or isolated villages and have no access to basic healthcare. They lack quality medicines, health products and education, and the distance to products and services makes them particularly vulnerable. Due to a lack of knowledge, people are unable to make well-informed decisions about their own health and that of their children. They frequently depend on the local black market for expensive medicines, which are often counterfeit.
The last-mile distribution model enables Healthy Entrepreneurs to unlock remote communities with access to basis healthcare. Healthy Entrepreneurs proves that medical care in remote areas is possible and we have made it cheaper, more effective and more sustainable.
The personal story of Joost van Engen
Founder of Healthy Entrepreneurs
“In some places in the world, human tragedies are everyday occurrences. Take for example the remote village in Burundi I visited a few years ago. Even in the 21st century, people in this village had no clean drinking water or electricity. Their children had to walk an hour each day to reach the nearest school. Girls were getting pregnant much too young and children and women were getting sick and even dying from easily preventable diseases.
Visiting this village changed my life. I was outraged that these people, and so many others in the world, were facing unnecessary threats due to a lack of knowledge and access to even the most basic health care while all over the world, the knowledge and means were readily available! That’s when I decided to start Healthy Entrepreneurs. Everyone has the right to good health care, no matter where they are born. Not only that, people who grow up healthy have the opportunity to develop both themselves and their community. Especially in the most neglected areas, gaining access to health care is key to development and self-reliance. The key to success is in the hands of the people and we believe in giving them the chance to stand on their own two feet. We offer men and women the chance to be trained as Healthy Entrepreneurs and to become independent health care providers for their own communities. Using our franchise-based approach, we spark a positive movement where children and adults can help develop strong, healthy, sustainable communities.
As for the people in that Burundian village? They’re doing much better these days. A passionate entrepreneur has been working there for four years now. She offers health education and advice to her fellow villagers and sells all kinds of medicines and health care products from her mini-pharmacy, offering her friends and neighbours a good life and a healthy future.
Joost van Engen, Founder of Healthy Entrepreneurs
What we offer
Are you wondering why each entrepreneurs receives a starter kit with basic health products and a phone? Because in order to change the system the access to basic health products should be complemented with health education and counselling in their own language.
Health products include both basic preventive and curative medicines. The assortment of products is in line with both the national ministry of health and international guidelines. The most sold products are paracetamol, ORS, zinc, maternal vitamins and malaria treatments. In some cases, treatment for chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes is offered, following our eDispensing procedure.
Nutrition is an important aspect particularly for pregnant women and young children to protect them against diseases. The product range includes both curative and preventive items. Additionally, different solutions are offered to provide clean drink water.
Infections are prevented by medicines and products related to hygiene. For example, with the use of sanitary pads girls are able to attend school on a more frequent basis. The availability of anti-conception products and advice generates an increase in HIV/Aids awareness and a decline of infected people.
With a wide spectrum of care-products families are able to improve their well-being, including mosquito repellent, skin cream, children’s toothpaste and diaper cream for babies.
The tablet provides approximately 125 counceling movies about basic health care, including subjects as nutrition hygiene, child mortality, pregnancy and common diseases.
Digital questionnaires identify symptoms and provide advice on 25 common diseases, for example child fever, the choice of anti-conception product and HIV-related information.
Promotion of impact products for which the market entry in isolated areas is difficult, such as water filters and specific nutrition products.
The online ordering system, mobile phone payment system (using telephone credit), automatization and standard procedures ensure that all entrepreneurs receive their product orders within five days.
The telehealth platform enables the entrepreneur to consult a professional healthcare provider at a distance. The entrepreneur in the village collects patient vitals using simple point of care diagnostics, share results with the health professional by phone or application. The doctor will consult the patient and share an ePrescription with the entrepreneur.
eDispensing is a digital solution for controlled and supervised distribution of pre-packed bar-coded prescription treatments to patients in rural and remote areas.
Our ambitions going forward
Healthy Entrepreneurs is an established yet dynamic organisation with a clear vision: Basic healthcare for families in remote communities in developing countries. We have developed the necessary experience and expertise to achieve our ambitions for growth.
We continuously strive to improve our concept and the supply offered by our entrepreneurs. With over 200 staff and 15.000 Community Health Entrepreneurs we currently operate in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, DRC, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. But with a proven and scalable concept we aim even higher. By 2027, we aim to have 90,000 entrepreneurs in action, delivering health-related products to more than 100 million people in ten countries.
To reach its goals, Healthy Entrepreneurs partners with like-minded organisations to scale our network of entrepreneurs. By partnering we can replicate the model and our experience, tools and knowledge while leveraging on local knowledge and experienced parties and so jointly improve access to healthcare in more remote and rural settings.
We are continuously improving our set of impact products and services. We are constantly on the lookout for products that offer the best value for money. New items are being added to our assortment, including innovative impact products that usually hardly find their way to the remote areas.
Technology is key to reaching remote areas. Not only does it allow our entrepreneurs to give sound advice to their clients, it also facilitates ordering, payments and delivery. Healthy Entrepreneurs sees technology as key to our business to help our entrepreneurs and their clients to make informed health decisions.
Our telehealth platform enables the entrepreneur to consult a professional healthcare provider at a distance. The entrepreneur in the village will collect patient vitals using simple point of care diagnostics, share results with the health professional by phone or application. The doctor will consult the patient and share an ePrescription with the entrepreneur.
Following our eDispensing solution, entrepreneurs can provide access to pre-packed barcoded prescription treatment to their patients. Especially chronic patients benefit of this service as its cost is at 20% of the cost reaching out to the facility. Entrepreneurs can reach out to the professional healthcare provider for any health inquiry.
By 2027 we have expanded our network of entrepreneurs to 90.000 entrepreneurs in total operating in 10 countries in Sub Saharan countries. Healthy Entrepreneurs is open to new countries expressing interest in a sustainable way of organizing healthcare provision in rural and remote settings.
We have a huge ambition, but we believe we reach this scale up as there is no time to waste in providing the necessary access to health services in rural and remote areas in Africa!
Healthy Entrepreneurs is a social enterprise that consists of a foundation and limited (BV), registered in the Netherlands. In all countries where entrepreneurs operate there are registered entities. These country offices are responsible for the identification, selection and training of new entrepreneurs and the deliveries of products ordered.
The foundation in the Netherlands is responsible for programme management, fundraising, and investing donations in new entrepreneurs. The limited handles the purchase of goods, operational management, IT services, product innovation, reporting, and business management. The business supports the country offices by expanding their network of entrepreneurs.
The money flow is managed according to a written agreement between the entities. This arrangement allows us to extract all profit from the business and invest it into the foundation for new entrepreneurs.
The Dutch foundation has the ANBI registration.