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A Successful Hack: Young entrepreneurs expand pharmacy service following Youth Hackathons

Raleigh International Youth Hackathons series unlocked fresh perspective for youth social enterprise MedPack.

Between May and July 2021, over 150 young people participated in 6 Hackathons, taken place across 3 countries, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania. Each Hackathon brought together participants from the global pharamaceutical organisation with young people who are currently creating social and environmental change projects in their communities. Together they shared knowledge and experience with the aim to address challenges that the young entrepreneurs were facing and discover new solutions to maximise the impact of their work.

On a hackathon in Tanzania, 4 young entrepreneurs from MedPack worked alongside 40 participants from the pharmaceutical sector. MedPack is a youth-led company bringing online pharmacy services to Tanzania. Through the Medpack service, customers can buy medication and other health products online and then have them delivered to the home. While taking part in the Youth Hackathon, MedPack wanted to find solutions to the following problem:

“Digital health services in Tanzania are new and many people still do not trust them. How can we best overcome this barrier so that we can grow our customer base and enable more people to have improved access to the medication they need?”

The participants split into 4 breakout rooms, where the groups were given the opportunity to brainstorm tailored ideas that would scale the company’s impact whilst building trust in MedPack’s services within the community. During the Hackathon, Henry, the co-founder of Medpack, said:

“We are digital health company in Pharmacy sector, [so] learning from another pharmaceutical company and different mentors will help us to get relevant skills and knowledge to apply back to our company development.”

As a result of the hackathon, MedPack launched a new awareness-raising campaign named ANZA sasa, meaning ‘start now’. To encourage trust with customers and to form partnerships, the campaign incorporates strategies such as hospital outreach, the creation of flyers and a video documenting the satisfaction the company has brought to customers.

Since the Youth Hackathon, MedPack has implemented the ANZA sasa campaign and as a result have formed 2 new partnerships, one with a leading pharmaceutical company in Tanzania. MedPack has also met with 10 different health stakeholders, presented their work to the Ministry of Health through Tanzania Health Summit, and even received global interest for their product.

Ester, Co-founder of MedPack commented that the Anza sasa campaign has helped tackle their main challenges set out in the Hackathon, not only gaining partnerships but also the trust of customers. MedPack has experienced an increase in new customers as well as growth in sales by over 100 orders a month, from 400 to 600, generating increased income, in October 2021.

The impressive progress MedPack has made has been possible because of the successful adoption of the ANZA sasa campaign created in the Youth Hackathon. Therefore, MedPack can better provide for the Tanzanian communities’ medical needs with a larger, more trusting customer base and more efficient service. Because of this success, MedPack is a prime example of the impact that can be made from bringing together young peoples’ skills, knowledge, and experience to create the most innovative solutions for society.

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