Entry 10


Currently the sickle cell anemia group is working on the application for VentureWell E Team Program – Stage 1: Market Validation application for $5,000 in funding and a three day workshop. At the workshop teams learn how to better describe and identify the markets they plan on implementing there innovation in. Most of the $5,000 will be used for travel expenses to the workshop however the rest can be used for research material expenses. If we receive the Stage 1 grant we can apply for the Stage 2 and eventually the Stage 3 grants that are $20,000 and $50,000 (up to). The research materials we are currently using in the lab are extremely expensive, the most expensive materials are the antibodies that are used for printing the test line. We are currently paying approximately 7 dollars to make and test each test strip. The Stage 2 and 3 grants could help fund our research tremendously and the first step in applying for those grants is to complete Stage 1.

Another possible source of funding is a research grant from the NIH, National Institute of Health. Three programs we could possibly apply to are the NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01), NIG Small Grant Program (R03), NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15). Each of these programs are for early stage projects and the grant money is to go toward the materials and resources needed to complete the research. The main part of the application is the proposed budget for the next year or two of research and the proposed research strategy.

NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01): https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r01.htm

NIG Small Grant Program (R03): https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r03.htm

NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15): https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r15.htm


The DEBUT grant run by VentureWell and the NIH (National Institute of Health) is for undergraduate biomedical design and innovation teams that have a working prototype that solves a healthcare problem and is ready to be tested in the field (clinical trials) or implemented. The largest grant that we could receive is $20,000 with additional funding/prize money if our device/application shows a large market potential and economic feasibility or patentability. Once we have a working prototype and lab results this would be a great grant to apply for to fund a clinical trial in Sierra Leone that would lead us into the path of implementing the device.

Another possible grant that could aid us in the dissemination process of the project is UNICEFs Innovation Fund. We could receive an investment up to $100,000 for our device that improves child development. Before we are able to apply for this grant that could again aid us in running a clinical trial we first must meet their criteria. We have to be registered as a private company and registered in a UNICEF programme country (Sierra Leone is one of them). We have to be working on open source technology solutions or willing to be open source. Similar to the DEBUT grant we must have a working prototype and promising lab results, and identify how our device has the potential to positively impact the lives of children. The application for this grant is a little bit different than others and does not require a full formally written proposal/report, instead this grant is based off of a 2 minute video that provides all of the information above.


  • Free Healthcare Initiative Figureheads/Leaders: The FHCI is ultimately the program we see our device being funded/bought by. By creating a partnership early on and explaining to the program what we are planning/working on developing they will already know the basics about the device when we come back and start implementation (need funding). Also, by forming an early relationship with the program we will be building trust and credibility by keeping in contact with them and giving them updates on the device, its impact and its cost.
  • NGOs, UN, other governments (especially the UK Department of International Development) who provide the funding to the FHCI: Along with forming a partnership with the figureheads/leaders of the FHCI we should also be talking to the funding sources of the FHCI directly. If the funding sources support our device directly the device will most likely be accepted/supported by the FHCI.
  • Sierra Leone Pharmacy Board: Once we have a working device we will have to receive permission to conduct a clinical trial with the device and then the certifications to have it on the market as a medical device. Again, by forming relationships with the Pharmacy Board early on we can ask very specific questions about the application process in person and keep in contact with our connections over the phone/email if we run into problems when filling out the applications. Sickle cell anemia is very prominent in Sierra Leone and having a diagnostic device on the market would greatly benefit the society, therefore, I believe the Pharmacy Board would be willing to work with us once we are able to provide a working device.
  • Hospital Figureheads (head doctors, medical directors): Our medical device will be used primarily in hospitals and clinics and will have to be administered by a nurse or a “higher” medical professional. When we are in Sierra Leone we will be interviewing the medical professionals who would be administering the device and receiving feedback on the usability of the products. We will also be interviewing the head doctors and medical directors to discuss how a large group teaching session would be planned/carried out once the device is ready to be administered. The head doctors and medical directors can also give us feedback on if they believe the device is beneficial to the system and where in the system the device would be most beneficial. As of right now we believe the device should be used to screen for sickle cell anemia at birth, however, the medical professionals in Sierra Leone may have other ideas and reasons to do screen at a different time. In short, it is important that we have a strong relationship with the administrative side of the hospitals as well as the medical professionals themselves because they will be the people ultimately informing and administering the device for the people of Sierra Leone. If they believe the device will benefit the society, the more likely they will insist people get tested when they come to them.
  • Sickle Cell Disease Coalition: This coalitions mission is to amplify the voice of the sickle cell disease stakeholder community to improve outcomes for individuals with SCD. The coalition helps bridge public health organizations with research and provider organizations to deliver advances faster, more economically and more efficiently to patients suffer from SCD. This coalition would want to partner with us because we are developing a device that is inexpensive and that will allow hundreds of people to be diagnosed with SSD and ultimately be treated in a timely manner that could greatly increase their quality of life. With the backing and partnership from the SCDC we will have a connection (“a in”) to other organizations that could help us with funding, production of the device, implementation, excetera. Having the support from the SCDC will also build our credibility tremendously which will help us build connections with all the above mentioned organizations and more.

Entry 8

Takeaways from Guy Kawasaki’s Speech on “The Art of the Start”:

Guy Kawasaki’s speech on “The Art of the Start” walked through the main components/concepts that need to be met and understood in order to create/develop a business from a great idea. The first point that really stood out to me was that he believed once a person has a general idea they should “Get going?”. That there should not be a large amount of time dedicated to planning because he believes you will be more successful if you start doing. The subpoint that got me thinking about this main point was that an entrepreneur, engineer, or designer (etcetera) should aim to polarize people with their idea. That an idea will be more successful if people immediately have an opinion on it and that it’s okay if not everyone is a fan or your idea. I believe the sickle cell anemia project has really embraced the idea that once an idea is established, get going. We have jumped into research and are working to get our device up and running. After only a semester and a half we have already had huge success; the control line has been created and the test line is close to being spotted. Kawasaki’s second point that resonated with me was that one’s product needs to be “high and to the right”, aka one must be able to provide a unique product or service and the value to the customer must be high. Kawasaki gave examples of products that met every other category (high and to the left, low and to the left, excetera) and explained how they failed. Going over examples made it easier to understand the concept and helped me figure out how our project met the “high and to the right” criteria. As of right now we are working on our ability to provide a unique product however, the value to the customer is high because the device will be cheap and will help screen/diagnose a disease that highly impacts the customers quality of life.

The next point that Kawasaki mentioned stood out to me because it directly correlates with a process we are currently going through. His 10/20/30 rule for presenting or pitching ones product or service is incredibly important because you want to correctly present our idea to stakeholders so that you can receive the funding and support to continue on your venture. The 10/20/30 rule guidelines for presenting are 10 slide, a 20 minute presentation and 30 point font. This rule can help us plan out our class presentations but will also help us during future presentations at conferences and for potential stakeholders. These guidelines will help us get our message across that sickle cell test strips are necessary in the Sierra Leone health care system in a timely and concise manner. Kawasaki mentioned directly after this point that teams should hire better than themselves and that new hires should be “infected” with love for the product or service. By hiring better than yourself the momentum of the project will continue in a productive way. As our project continues and students graduate new students will be brought onto the team. These students need to be as passionate about the test strips as we are and must be able and willing to put the time in the lab as well as doing research to continue improving the test strip. The final point that really stood out to me was “don’t let the bozos get you down”. I feel like a teams ability to bounce back from being criticized can really make or break the project. Being college students people might not take us as seriously as professionals with accredited degrees however, that should not affect our ability to produce incredible work. No matter what one person thinks our project will be as successful as we make it.


Business Model Canvas: Sickle Cell Anemia Test Strips (I can’t get the lines on the table to show up)

Key Partners

– World Hope, will help us financially and will also help accredit us (people trust World Hope so in turn they will trust our device)

– We will need to have a relationship and partnership with the NGOs/government sectors that will be funding the production of the test strips

– We will eventually need a company that will be able to mass produce our test strip

Key Activities

– We must develop a low cost test strip that can diagnose sickle cell anemia; we are currently in the research phase trying to get the test strip to work

– We will have to figure out our supply chain management. Who will be producing the strips? Where will they be shipped? Who will distribute them?

Value Propositions

– Provide a screening device (test strip) for sickle cell anemia; a disease that impacts a person’s everyday life and can result in death

Customer Relationships

– Get: pitch the device as a screening device that needs to be administered at birth; goal: will be a typical test done at birth

– Keep: To reach out and keep in contact with the hospitals buying and providing the test strips to the population; insure the supply of devices is the correct amount in relation to the number of people being tested

– Grow: Build relationships with NGOs, organizations and the government to figure out who will be funding the development of these devices

Customer Segments

– Our customers are going to typically be from developing countries where sickle cell anemia is prevalent

– These developing countries typically have free health care services therefore our customers will be the NGOs, organizations and the government who fund medical care services

– We will start implementing the device in Sierra Leone a country in Africa (75% of the children out of the 300,000 children born each year with SCA are born in Africa)


– Need access to medical professionals and CWH in Sierra Leone in order to receive feedback on the device and support from them when the device is implemented and administered

– Need World Hopes support financially as well as their connections with the FDA and Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, doctors in the local hospitals and other medical professionals that will aid us in implementing the device


– Hospitals; the device should be used to screen for sickle cell anemia at birth

– Community health workers; to distribute and administer the device in local villages

Cost Structure

– As of right now the supplies needed to conduct our research is our greatest cost (we are seeking out funding from different grants)

– once the device is developed fixed costs will be paying the employees we will need to deliver the devices and paying the manufacturing company to produce the devices

Revenue Streams

– These test strips will be as cheap as possible and will be sold for a little bit more than their actual production cost in order to keep the business running (paying employees, continuing to develop and improve the test strip, to pay for costs that arise when trying to implement in other countries)