The Incas journey: excerpts from Start.Up Lounge’s conversation with Laud Basing.
With a passion for science and youth capacity development coupled with the accomplishment of an admirable four (4) first degrees, three (3) post graduate degrees, two (2) PhDs, and several other diploma certificates, research publications and serious love for Banku and Kenkey, many would have thought that was all we could get out of the young Laud Anthony W. Basing.
But NO, a huge debt that he owed for the treatment of his niece who had suffered burns from an accident, eventually compelled him to embark on an entrepreneurial journey which will soon be primed to revolutionize the #healthcaresystem in #Ghana.
Laud founded Incas Diagnostics almost a decade ago, originally as a medical testing laboratory. However, lack of #access to diagnostics kits, the high cost of laboratory services and delayed periods of accessing lab results got him thinking about how he could make the process less cumbersome for his clients.
He will therefore dedicate the period between 2012 and 2015 to capacity and competence building both home and abroad culminating in the design of his first #testkit prototype in 2015 while in the USA.
His #passion for capacity development and time dedicated to grooming health workers in a local district in Ghana to identify and diagnose certain diseases will qualify him into the 2016 cohort of the Mandela Washington Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Program. This opportunity will bless him with an extra rich #network of people who will challenge him to take his idea a notch higher hence #pivoting Incas further from a disease testing laboratory facility to a diagnostics and test kit development and manufacturing company.
Though returning to Ghana with so much excitement and promise, Laud’s journey was still far from being smooth. He faced age old problems typically associated with #startupgrowth in #Africa; lack of funding and support from relevant stakeholders, high import costs of materials and skepticism around the idea are just a few, compelling Laud to return to the USA for a second PhD at Purdue University. He was however going this time with a #strategic plan which he had devised with his team; a plan which will eventually enable him to raise about USD 200,000 mostly through winning #entrepreneurship related competitions, before returning to Ghana in 2019.
Incas Diagnostics, since receiving its license in October 2019, is currently the only company on the continent that develops and manufactures test kits. So far, it produces and sells kits for vaginal infections, yaws, pregnancy and drug abuse. Its latest #innovation that has attracted extra plaudits from all around the world is a #covid19testing kit which is currently undergoing certification at Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority.
All kits are cheaper, enhance patient privacy and return results between 10 to 15 minutes as compared to traditional medical laboratory regimes that take several hours, if not days.
Has it been easy so far? Certainly Not! Laud sometimes wishes he was not in this game, “I quit 1000 times a day and I get up 1000 times a day to keep going” he says.
The lack of attention given to access to diagnostics as compared to that given access to doctors and medicines is both his biggest worry as well as #motivation. He wakes up each day knowing he is working to save the life of someone living in poverty.
If there is one thing Laud has learnt out of the business of producing test kits, it is the #value of #patience. Of all his rich experiences so far, the one tip he has for his fellow African #startupfounders and upcoming entrepreneurs is ”Choose your team wisely, they can make or unmake you.”
It is clear that many of us are quick to applaud but very few among us are willing to #support such entrepreneurs when they set out initially. Had it not been for Laud returning to the USA, it is most likely no one would have believed his #idea was a viable project, let alone, consider #funding it.
At Start.Up Lounge, we seek to #contribute to the reversal of this phenomenon by shedding light on the stories of outstanding African startup founders like Laud Anthony Basing. We aim to motivate the many other up and coming entrepreneurs on the continent, empowering them not to give in when faced with similar #challenges.
Special appreciation at this point to Schurz Communications, Purdue University, KNUST, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mandela Washington YALI programme, Innohub, Ghana Tech Lab, other institutions and the many individuals like Laud’s personal friends Kakra and George who have in diverse ways supported the vision of building Incas Diagnostics.
Check out the full interview when it is uploaded onto the Start.Up Lounge YouTube channel to hear the detailed conversation with Laud.
We look forward to hosting you again for our next exciting conversation on Thursday, the 11th of June 2020.
Stay tuned for updates!
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