3 Questions

Joost van Engen

Joost van Engen (41) is co-founder of Healthy Entrepreneurs, a social enterprise focused on business development with a social impact. They aim to distribute proven, reliable health and impact products as well as health information to enhance the health and quality of life of people in the developing world. Together with Simavi, they will establish an innovative business model in Uganda: Healthy Business, Healthy Lives.


What inspired you to start Healthy Entrepreneurs?

“My background is in sales and distribution of food commodities and medicines in low and medium income countries. I noticed that the supply chain of essential medicines remains fragmented and inconsistent and suffers from recurrent stockouts. As a result 2 billion people don’t have access to essential medicines; this will rise to approximately 3 billion by 2025. Together with Maarten Neve, I decided to start Healthy Entrepreneurs to increase the availability of affordable, reliable generic medicines and health products and services for low and middle-income communities in developing countries through an innovative retail franchise concept.”


How do you and Simavi complement each other?

“Simavi is a very reliable partner with a broad network in Uganda and a great vision: good health as a prerequisite for development. Although we share this vision, we approach the issue in a different way. Simavi is experienced in project management and behaviour change and demand creation – Healthy Entrepreneurs is experienced in Bottom of the Pyramid health supply chain management and will ensure continuous supply. By respecting each other’s areas of expertise and working with local partners (Emesco Development Foundation & the District Health Office of Kibaale) we can achieve more impact and sustainability. Together we can establish a sustainable, decentralised essential medicine and health products supply-chain in Kibaale District, Uganda.”


What is the goal of Healthy Business, Healthy Lives?

“We want to improve the health situation and quality of life of people in developing countries by offering them access to affordable, reliable generic medicines and health products and services. We do this through our innovative franchise concept whereby we offer employment and a decent living to our Healthy Entrepreneurs. Our dream is to reach as many people as possible! The ambition for this project is to establish a good supply of essential high quality medicines and health products: a fully operational central district stock management system and supply chain with fifty accredited drug stores (franchise) operational at village level, supported by fifty community health workers who are responsible for health promotion and outreach supply services.”

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