How 2024 Global Aurora Tech Award Winner Revolutionized Nigeria’s Life-Saving First Responder Network

Folake Owodunni, CEO of Emergency Response Africa, recently won the Global Aurora Tech Award 2024.

The Aurora Tech Award honors female tech firm founders that have made a major impact on global development, empowering women entrepreneurs and addressing gender bias in venture finance.

After a terrible event with her one-year-old kid in 2017, Owodunni devised a clever plan. While living in Canada, the toddler began screaming in pain at 2 a.m.

Her son experienced acute ear discomfort, which was treated by two professional paramedics who arrived less than ten minutes after she dialed the emergency number. The small kid fell back asleep in less than thirty minutes, and the paramedics informed her that they did not need to go to the hospital or take an ambulance.

She told Disrupt Africa, “I began reflecting on what we would have done if we were home in Nigeria.” Between waking up a neighbour to transport us to the nearest hospital and not knowing whether the hospital would be able to accept and treat us, I realized that it might have been a far frightening experience.”

She founded Emergency Response Africa (ERA) to improve emergency medical care in her own country and across Africa.

ERA initiated a test in Lagos in March 2021 and has since handled hundreds of emergency calls, with response times as low as 9 minutes.

The mompreneur noted that traffic in Lagos is a major issue for everyone. What distinguishes us is our emphasis on developing a strong network of partners and leveraging technology to increase speed.”

“Emergency Response Africa offers access to the largest network of First Responders, emergency vehicles, and verified emergency-ready hospitals, powered by a world-class Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence software platform,” according to the company’s website. “Our technology ensures smart dispatching, seamless communication and data transfer from end to end, making sure patients get the right help at the right time.”

Nigeria’s Owodunni feels that in an atmosphere where 92% of individuals drive themselves to the hospital because they don’t trust that an ambulance will come on time when they call, having a dependable service to give immediate treatment at the site and transfer to the appropriate hospital is vital.

Two years ago, she stated that the organization has grown to include 45 first responders, 65 ambulances, and 15 hospital partners, with representation in multiple states.

“We are currently focused on serving diverse communities across Nigeria, where access to timely emergency medical services is severely limited,” Owodunni told SheCanCode last month after receiving the prize. “This includes Benin City, where we’ve recently launched a pilot project with the Edo State government to benefit the city’s 2.5 million residents.”

Despite certain problems, such as managing regulatory hurdles, finding money, and growing operations, she stated that she and her team intend to expand their reach beyond Nigeria into new regional markets over the next two years.

Ekaterina Smirnova, the head of the Aurora Tech Award, underlined the significance of Owodunni’s accomplishment, stating that the award serves as a constant reminder of the essential role that women play in effecting change and innovation.

She said, “We are proud of Folake Owodunni, Hannah Töpler, and Sarah Phiri-Molema’s outstanding achievements. Their ground-breaking enterprises not only meet vital community needs, but also serve as local role models, motivating change and promoting creativity. According to The Guardian, these awards highlight the efforts of women in the computer industry and promote gender equality and diversity in innovation.



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