Ojeniyi: Initial Challenges Should Not Demotivate Tech Startups



Team leader of ‘OneMedical’, James Olaoluwa Ojeniyi, whose team won the most innovative product category at the recently concluded 2016 Etisalat Prize for Innovation competition, spoke on the team’s commitment to technology innovation and the need for technology startups to summon up courage in overcoming initial challenges. Chika Amanze-Nwachuku and Emma Okonji present the excerpts 
You led a team that won a cash prize of N5 million for developing the most innovative product at the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Innovation competition, organised by Etisalat. How do you feel leading a team that won the keenly contested exercise?

It’s a great feeling knowing that the work we’ve been doing has been recognised in this manner.
When your team entered for the competition, did you at any point envisaged that your team will emerge winner?
We didn’t think we would win but we had high hopes of winning.
What motivated your team to enter for the competition?

Reading about the history of the competition and Etisalat’s commitment to innovation and support for startups spurred OneMedical to enter the competition.
What were the feelings of your team mates after the cash prize was presented?
Everyone was ecstatic.
As a team, what do you intend to do with the N5million cash prize and what is the likely sharing formula?

We intend to hire more staff to scale the business and split the money across the divisions in the team to increase our efficiency.

How did your team arrive at the name of your solution ‘OneMedical’ and what does the solution seek to address?

The name ‘OneMedical’ arose from the problem we’re trying to solve. We aim to get rid of paper records in hospitals with patients having a unique identification number and a single, comprehensive and centralised digital file.
What are the contributions of each member of your team, and how were you able to manage the differences and temperament of each individual, while working as a team?
Every member of the team has something to offer, whether in terms of the product aspect, growth or operations. While it is inevitable that differences would arise once in a while, we are all passionate and driven towards achieving our goal and that brings us together.
The intention of Etisalat in organising the competition is to demonstrate the company’s belief that Nigeria’s developmental needs can be met through the creation of innovative products and ideas. How will your team successfully meet the intention of Etisalat?
OneMedical aims to develop the Nigerian healthcare system by digitising medical records. As OneMedical consistently gets implemented across healthcare institutions, the development of healthcare in Nigeria would be evident through this innovation.

What is the solution ‘OneMedical’ all about, and how will the solution address specific needs of Nigerians?

OneMedical is a robust, medical technology suite built to accelerate Nigeria’s transition to a data driven healthcare system. For patients, having a OneMedical ID means a significantly improved healthcare experience as they enjoy a single, centralised and complete file that would also lead to shorter wait times at hospitals and more accurate recording of information. Nigerians can move from one healthcare facility to the next (whether in another state or within the same state) without having to worry about carry physical copies of their records.
How will your victory in the competition spur your team mates in developing more solution that addresses the needs of Nigerians?
The team is consistently thinking of how to create innovative solutions to problems in Nigeria.
Upcoming startups are faced with the challenges of funds and poor patronage. How will your team overcome these and other challenges?
Winning this competition is a stepping stone in overcoming that challenge. We are looking to leverage on networking opportunities that would lead us to the right people.
What is the vision of your team to use technology innovation to boost the Nigerian economy?
The team is committed to providing sustainable and long term technological solutions that would positively impact Nigerians and the Nigerian economy as a whole.
What is your advice for upcoming startups, especially those that lost out in the competition?
My candid advice for them to remain focused on their goals. There would be setbacks once in a while but that should not demotivate any startup.
What are the plans of your team to take software development beyond the shores of Nigeria?
The long term goal is to expand beyond Nigeria and reach other African countries as we’ve identified similar problems in those areas.
In what ways do you think government could be of assistance to your team in realising your vision?
The government can endorse the use of OneMedical across healthcare institutions which would in turn aid the federal government in reaching its goal of a “digitalised health system that will help Nigeria achieve universal health coverage by 2020.”