Many women in South Africa are embarrassed to discuss their feminine health issues with others, especially when they need to seek medical attention. Two entrepreneurs with a background working in the pharmaceutical corporate environment have built a business, Coincido, that offers women a solution - easy to use home diagnostic tests that can help protect and better care for their health.
LoA spoke to Coincido co-founders, Lebo Shange and Thembi Nkosi, to find out more about this company that is looking to make a positive difference to feminine health in South Africa.
What does your company do?
We provide innovative solutions that address some of the most prevalent female related conditions like fungal infections and pre-term labour. Our aim is to enhance patient care for healthcare professionals and patients respectively. We offer women easy to use self diagnostic tests that can protect and care for their health. Feminine conditions left untreated or treated incorrectly could lead to various complications and thus the importance of offering convenient home-based solutions.
"We provide innovative solutions that address some of the most prevalent female related conditions like fungal infections and pre-term labour.... Our aim is to enhance patient care for healthcare professionals and patients respectively."
What inspired you to start your company?
After working in the pharmaceutical corporate environment in the area of HIV, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc, we realised that too many people were still losing their lives because of medical complications, and this was mainly due to lack of education, awareness and active involvement in the management of their diseases. As medical costs increase, and technologies are improved, this leaves a gap in the market to provide affordable medical innovation coupled with better patient education.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Most women are embarrassed to discuss their feminine health with anyone, especially when they need to seek medical attention. We offer women easy to use home diagnostic tests that can help protect and care for their health. This gives them the confidence to know what they need to get treatment for, and where the condition can be treated with over-the-counter medication. Our products, Swabeze and Amniopad, offer women these home-based solutions to be able to self-diagnose conditions like fungal and bacterial infections, and premature labour.
"We offer women easy to use self diagnostic tests that can protect and care for their health."
Tell us a little about your team
Our team is made up of Lebo Shange, co-founder and Head of Marketing and Strategic Alliances. Lebo is a mother of two children aged 4 and 8 years who keep her on her feet. She has a successful career that spans more than 10 years in both sales and marketing experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Lebo is very passionate about marketing, building strategy, and using innovation and technology to improve systems, processes, and how we generally do things. She believes that technology should be able to assist us to be more efficient and get more done with the limited time we have. This passion has assisted our business and directed the products we focus on.
The other member of our team is Thembi Nkosi, co-founder and Head of Sales and Business Development. Thembi is a hard working mother of two children aged 2 and 8 years. She also has a successful career that spans more than 14 years in both sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. Thembi is passionate about customers, identifying their daily challenges, and offering them solutions to these challenges. This passion for customers has assisted us in our journey and channels us to be more customer and solutions focused. We took a decision to contribute positively by providing education to people empower them to take control of their health for better outcomes.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Our entrepreneurial journey has been one filled with excitement, anxiety, learnings, sweat, tears, and the list goes on. Ten months into the business and we are still motivated to continue on this journey and inspire each other as business partners and also other entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses. We have gone from having a solid business plan to sourcing funding, so we can put a sales team in place in order to penetrate the market easily; to realising that as a start-up funding is not easy to get; then having to re-strategise and maximise on ourselves as a resource and identifying other strategies to reach our customers without the reach a sales team would have offered. This journey has truly inspired us to think big and dream big, to dig deep within ourselves to make our business work and to focus on the end goal. This journey has been extremely difficult, but it has also been extremely exciting and fulfilling. We have learned so much about ourselves as individuals, our weaknesses, and how resilient we are. This journey has taught us to be adaptable, it has taught us to be thick-skinned, it has taught us to be persistent, and it has taught us to get up every time we get rejected or knocked down - it has given us a deeper and stronger purpose to make a difference.
"This journey has truly inspired us to think big and dream big, to dig deep within ourselves to make our business work and to focus on the end goal."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We plan to expand our product range to other therapeutic categories, and also to be the information hub for doctors and patients. We aspire to change the face of healthcare in the country and eventually the continent by bringing about much needed change. Once we are successful in South Africa, then we can focus on expanding to the rest of the continent. We aspire to build a solid distribution network with other entrepreneurs.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Watching an idea grow from being an idea to being a reality, and more especially providing products that change the medical landscape from the norm to extraordinary.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
My advice is to take action to realise your dreams - put your ideas out there because ideas kept secret will not change the world.
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Why LoA loves it….
Passion and purpose make for a powerful combination in the world of entrepreneurship, and in the case of Coincido co-founders, Lebo Shange and Thembi Nkosi, they have both of these traits in huge amounts. They have recognised a real need in the marketplace and are harnessing all their industry experience and knowledge to create a solution that can make a real and tangible difference to the lives and health of women in South Africa. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa