African Entrepreneurs and Startups: Celebrating an Innovator and Entrepreneur

Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons | Photo Credit Nana Kofi Acquah

Young entrepreneurs from Africa and across the world can learn a lot from Bright Simons, 33, and his MPedigree Network.

Extracts From the Bloomberg Feature Article

“A Ghanaian entrepreneur thinks he has an answer [answer to the Africa’s fake medication problem]. Bright Simons announced the creation of his company, MPedigree Network, at a news conference on Drug Lane in 2007. MPedigree sells software that manufacturers use to label individual packs of medication with a random 12-digit code hidden under a scratch-off panel on the packaging. When a person buys medicine, she can text the code to MPedigree for free and get an instant reply telling her whether the product is authentic. Today, MPedigree says it has labels on more than 500 million drug packets. Clients include the drug companies AstraZeneca, Roche, and Sanofi …he data MPedigree is collecting on African consumers has opened business possibilities that are strictly for-protfit. Today the company authenticates a variety of commonly faked goods, from makeup to electrical cable”

“Simons is deeply geeky, apt to digress into topics such as the lives of galley slaves and obscure characters in Mad Max: Fury Road….While still in Europe, he enrolled in business plan competitions and recruited Ph.D. students to do coding [set the vision and plan but always get external expertise]. The software they wrote assigned random codes to vegetables, printed on their labels; the idea was that buyers would go to a website, enter the code, and gain access to a webcam feed of the specific farm it came from….With money he earned from a consulting gig, he and his coders started building a product that actually worked: software that created unique codes, stored them in a database, provided instant verification by text message, and sent alerts to buyers if a code was bogus and to manufacturers if a code was used more than once. ”

“MPedigree thinks [and I agree wholeheartedly] such data [consumer data and analytics] can become its most valuable asset, and it plans to turn the millions of text messages it receives into a massive trove of information about African consumers. “

#Innovation #BusinessStrategy #TechAfrica #FakeMedicines #Ecosystems #Networking #DisruptiveTechnologies #Entrepreneurship

[…] emphasis mine

See full article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-07-31/the-african-startup-using-phones-to-spot-counterfeit-drugs

– See more at: http://www.theoacheampong.com/writings/african-entrepreneurs-and-startups-celebrating-an-innovator-and-entrepreneur/#sthash.RWEk0kW7.dpuf

About the Author

Theo Acheampong
Theo is an economist and social media enthusiast who provides regular commentary on socioeconomic and political developments in Ghana and Africa at large. Theo is passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship and the role of innovative technologies in solving Africa's developmental challenges.

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