When Melissa Bime had to witness the countless deaths in the hospital where she worked as a nurse, it broke her heart. However, this became the driving force that inspired her to start an award-winning online blood banking platform. At just 18 years old, she started a platform that would go on to help hundreds of hospitals in Cameroon.
Melissa Bime recently emerged winner of the Grand Prize of the Anzisha Prize competition. The 22-year-old thrilled her audience with her online blood bank and digital supply chain platform INFIUSS, which landed her the US$25,000 Grand Prize at the 8th annual Anzisha Prize awards gala.
How the INFIUSS platform started
Melissa is a nursing graduate and the founder of INFIUSS, an online blood bank, and digital supply chain platform. She created this platform after her experience working in a hospital. There, she witnessed too many deaths as a result of hospitals failing to source compatible blood for life-saving transfusions.
“Seeing a little girl dying because the hospital could not source blood from a nearby facility angered me. I could not keep working as a nurse. I did not want to be part of a system where I had to simply watch these cases,” says Melissa Bime.
The desire to save lives and make a change has kept the flames of her passion burning. Melissa took it upon herself to find a solution to the inaccessibility of local blood supplies, hospitals, and doctors in Yaoundé. In 2015, aged just 18, Melissa Bime founded INFIUSS, a digital supply-chain platform that gives hospitals access to ready-to-use blood.
INFIUSS operates as a “blood bank,” collecting and categorizing blood supplies. It has also grown to become a reliable database of all the blood types available at various hospitals. In an emergency, a hospital will call or send a text message to INFIUSS. Then, INFIUSS will efficiently check where the required blood is available. Through the digitized platform, they organize the collection of blood supplies and coordinate delivery by motorcycle.
With such a great innovation, it is no doubt that Melissa came first at the Anzisha Prize competition.
About the Anzisha Prize competition
The Anzisha Prize, an award for Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs, is a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and the Mastercard Foundation.
According to the organizers of the award scheme, Melissa was selected from among 20 finalists. This was during a ceremony on October 23, which was live-streamed to over 3,000 viewers across the continent.
The 20 finalists spent 10 days in a business accelerator camp. During this period, they strengthened their business fundamentals before presenting their ventures to a panel of judges. The judges included Ntuthuko Shezi, Bita Diamomande, Saran Kaba Jones, and Polo Leteka.
This year, a woman takes the lead as Melissa Bime is “the second woman to win the grand prize since Best Ayiorworth took it home in 2013.” A press statement read.
In her acceptance speech of the Grand Prize, Bime said, “Today, I stand here to represent every young girl out there that just has her dreams…I stand here to represent this amazing group of entrepreneurs that I am a part of. With these people, the future of Africa is very bright. We are going to change this continent.”
Indeed, the future is bright with entrepreneurs like Melissa Bime! So far, INFIUSS has transported over 230 liters of blood via 6 hospitals. This number is expected to rise substantially as the partnership expands to 908 hospitals across Cameroon in the near future.
With life-saving innovative platforms like INFIUSS, it is glaring that entrepreneurs are a backbone to every society.
Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on February 15 in 2019. Nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs are also welcome all year round.