Updated Feb 10, 2020

Healthy Entrepreneurs

Healthy Entrepreneurs delivers effective and affordable health products and services to the last mile, through a network of Community Health Entrepreneurs


Joost Van engen

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Stage 5: Scaling

Healthy Entrepreneurs is scaling her network of 4,000 Community Health Entrepreneurs to 15,000 in Kenya and Uganda by 2023. We are also replicating the model in existing and new countries and working on additional services like Doctor@Distance

Focus Areas:

Health, Entrepreneurship, Economic Empowerment and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Health, Entrepreneurship, Economic Empowerment, Supply Chains, Social and Behavior Change and InclusionSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Haiti, Tanzania and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Haiti, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and KenyaSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Countries Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding


Despite tremendous efforts, 600 million people in Sub-Sahara Africa are vulnerable and have little access to health care. Mortality is high and 50% of deaths are cases of infectious diseases that are in fact curable. Particularly in rural communities, costs and time used on transport (> 50% of expenditure), and prices of health products, medicines and services are high. There is a lack of health knowledge within communities, at drug stores counterfeit drugs are sold and health centres are out-of-stock and often lack trained personnel.



Healthy Entrepreneurs selects existing Community Health Workers and trains them as health entrepreneurs. They pay a commitment fee and receive a kit of basic health products on credit, a solar powered smartphone with an ordering app, a product app and a health info app with educational videos on relevant health topics in local languages. They make a living selling reliable and affordable high impact products, while improving awareness and knowledge on health in their remote communities. We offer simple diagnostic tests and advice from a Doctor@distance.

Target Beneficiaries

Healthy Entrepreneurs’ target population is families living in remote areas, particularly women, adolescent girls and children under 5. In Uganda, close to 85% of the population lives in rural areas, in Kenya 74%, of which 19% is under 5 years old. Nearly 40% of the population lives more than one hour walking distance away from a health centre and transport costs of $2. The availability of products is less than 50% and prices at drug stores are 3-4 times higher than public reference prices.

Mission and Vision

Our vision is basic healthcare for all. Access to basic healthcare in the most remote areas is an important key for development and self-reliance. To our opinion, the key to success is self empowerment, enabling people to overcome their own challenges. Our mission is to train men and women to become health entrepreneurs. Via the network of entrepreneurs a large set of affordable health products and services, that have been proven effective, are delivered to the last mile.

Innovation Description

The concept is innovative in its elements and as a whole; the business model, based on social entrepreneurship and lean operating model sustains a profitable organization that is scalable and eligible for private and public investments. Individual entrepreneurs are financially self-sufficient and the HE organization is financially sustainable at scale. An innovative and effective combination of technology supports the end-to-end supply chain. These include solar-powered tablets, algorithms for health information and advice, off-line videos in local languages, online ordering and use of mobile money. Healthy Entrepreneurs’ approach is unique in being customer-oriented. The operation is focussed on building a long-standing relationship with the end customers. Prerequisite for success are quality and reliability in service provision, customer care and empowerment of the health entrepreneurs. Recently the Doctor@Distance service was launched. Entrepreneurs send simple point-of-care test results to a doctor, who advises and/or prescribes medication. The doctor also monitors patients with non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes in their remote habitat.

Competitive Advantage

Healthy Entrepreneurs’ innovative, sustainable and scalable approach is unique and system changing. Compared to other community based initiatives HE is unique in its integrality (horizontal/vertical, technology, end-to-end, supporting processes and the integration with the public health system), lean processes and operating model, and the role for private investors in replication and scale up, due to its innovative business model based on social entrepreneurship. Private players in the market do not serve the remote and hard to reach areas. Traditional community-based initiatives focus primarily on urban and peri-urban areas to keep their costs low and lack a financially sustainable business model (no entrepreneurship, perpetually donor-oriented/funded). The business case of Healthy Entrepreneurs focusses on serving her customers in their remote village.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Our ultimate scale can be reached by expanding the existing HE operations and replicating the model in the countries where HE currently operates and replication of the model in multiple other Sub-Saharan African countries. Our current focus is on scaling the existing operations up to 15.000 health entrepreneurs, implement the Doctor@distance operation at scale and start replicating the HE model in existing countries.
Funding Goal5,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted42,000,000
New FeatureFocus on non-communicable diseases, simple point of care diagnostics

The Team Behind the Innovation

Each country team consist of a country manager, supply chain manager, operations manager and finance manager. In each country a motivated and compact core management team is in place. During the start-up phase country teams are usually managed by an international manager. The support office in the Netherlands provides support on the management of the ERP system, applications, finance, international procurement and business development. We have 35 highly motivated colleagues.



Oct 2019
In The News
ORGANIZATIONMinistry of Health Uganda
Jan 2013
New Country Implemented In
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Jan 2012
Date Unknown
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Profiled Innovation - Gold