Six companies from Finland and Sweden attended a business mission to Uganda in August 2017 to meet with local hospitals, distributors and NGOs. The business visit was organized in cooperation with Uganda Healthcare Federation, and under the framework of CB Health Access, a joint program between Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, which supports health technology companies entering distant markets.
During the business mission to Uganda, the companies visited large and smaller private hospitals and clinics, distributors and NGOs. One-to-one meetings were set up to explore collaboration opportunities, and the companies presented their solutions at a conference of over 120 participants, most of whom were private-sector health care providers and distributors.
“I was positively surprised by the level of business opportunities in Uganda, after travelling extensively in Southern Africa for many years. I’m coming back!” said Roland Nilsson, president of Pansanté, a Swedish company offering a sustainable clinic and hospital concept. The other companies also admitted to having rather low expectations prior to the mission, but interest towards their solutions and the number of concrete leads by far surpassed what they had expected. Uganda’s economy has grown strongly over the recent years, with a growing middle class demanding higher quality healthcare. The country has a large private sector in healthcare, accounting for approximately 50% of healthcare expenditure. The government funds allocated to healthcare have steadily increased, but out-of-pocket spending still remains high. Health insurance coverage is also on the rise.
All participants were also very satisfied with the target market coaching that was provided in preparation to the business mission. “Thank you, Uganda Healthcare Federation and CB Health Access partners. You’ve worked very hard to make these days valuable to our businesses, which has led to some very tangible opportunities for us!” said Nina Nilsson, from Bactiguard, whose solution helps reduce healthcare associated infections. Kasperi Kankare from an ophthalmology device company Icare Finland Oy stated that the mission has led to a steep learning curve and adds: “I love how one of the potential clients understood the business case, and I’m now eager to continue discussions with them”. The partners of CB Health Access together with Uganda Healthcare Federation will continue to support the companies, to help them reach results on the Ugandan market.
CB Health Access program was initiated in 2016 between Estonian, Finnish, Latvian and Swedish technology organizations to support entrepreneurship in health technologies. The program facilitates the entry of Estonian, Latvian, Swedish and Finnish health tech companies to distant markets – South Korea, USA, India and Uganda. CB Health Access provides the companies with an introduction of the target market, individual coaching both from the home country and from target market experts, market information, business missions, and identifying and contacting potential partners, and business missions. The program has a strong focus for the companies to achieve sales in the chosen market. The program is financed by Central Baltic Interreg Program.