GSIF Post #10 Rohan Ekambaram

A source of funding that we as a group have been looking into is crowdfunding. We are using sites that allow people to donate money to ventures like ours in order to better the world. There are multiple platforms to do this like Gofundme and Kickstarter. We have been looking into sources like Indigogo that have much more reputable people donating. At this point we are looking to find money anywhere since the grants that we usually dip into have already given money over the years. We are also making a video to encompass the goal of our project that would be put on these crowdfunding sites. The website that one of our members has been working on will also, in part, help our venture. If people are able to read and understand more of what we are doing then our venture can really take off. This is a double edged sword of funding though. If a project does not develop any following and does not rise in popularity on the site, less people will donate, but if it does then the people donating will exponentially grow. It is not the first choice to base the success of our venture off popularity, but when funding is needed this is what has to be done.

Another place that could be applied to is Global Social Venture Competition. This is a program that awards money to those who are developing technologies for social ventures across the world. This would be an extremely good source of funding. Not only does this program award large sums of money, up to $80,000,  the exposure from the contest would encourage more to give. This combined with the crowdfunding platform would allow for an enormous amount of funding. This group also has a wide spreading reach of connections world wide. They have done work in Africa, Asia, Europe, the US, Latin America, and Australia. Although this might be getting ahead of the what we are doing, but having those international connections early in the process would give us a leg up when we are expanding to more places than just Sierra Leone. The values that the group possess also firmly line up with the values of the GSIF program. They are firmly set on making useful and creative impact all around the world in order to better the lives of those who have it less fortunate than us. This is exactly what the GSIF program sets out to do with our ventures, which means this partnership could be fruitful for both sides.

This picture is the financial model of the Ukweli Test Strip team’s future ventures. It shows what has been done in the past along with what we aim to do in the future. As you can see in the picture, the growth of Ukweli is not large until we really get some traction with the people of Sierra Leone. It should also be noted that we do not break even with our own overhead, but with the funding received we do. We are not aiming to make a profit but we are trying to put all the money we receive towards our important venture.

There are some assumptions that go along with this model. We are assuming that by the end of this summer at the latest, the marketing license will be accepted by the Sierra Leone government and ministry of health. This is important because without the actual approval of these governing bodies, we will not be able to sell our product to those who need it. This will not drastically change the flow of the financial model though, it would only push it back to the time that we have achieved the license. The other assumption is that the radio program and work of mouth marketing strategy take. Both of these are intended to inform people about the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. With this educational material being spread, hopefully people will be able to recognize the signs and go to their local CHW or buy the strip themselves. Another assumption that we are making involves quality control. By the time our strips are widely used, we assume that there will be a system in place in order to alert those using the strips if something has gone wrong. This would be whether or not the strips have been tampered with or exposed to harsh elements. This is important because we want those using our strips to be able to trust the result of the screening device.

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