Health in her hands sweeps prizes at Youth Co:Lab 2019

A woman's determination to make healthcare accessible for women all around Samoa has made her the 2019 Youth Co:Lab Excellence Award recipient.

Salote Vaai from Sataua, Savai'i, along with 14 others pitched their business ideas ranging from healthcare to climate change, digital transformation, education, and healthy eating.

Ms. Vaai won three out of the four awards on offer at the event: Impactful Technology award, Community Development Award and the overall Excellence Award.

Her business idea targets women, especially in the rural areas of Samoa. 

During her five minute pitch, Ms. Va'ai said that while she worked in the National Hospital, a baby died due to complications.

"The mother of this child said to me 'Ana ou vave iloaina, fa'apenei e vave ona ou sau'. 'If I had known earlier, I would have come in earlier'," she said.

Ms. Va'ai said it took a while for her to recover from the experience and took that to inspire her to turn it into an idea to prevent such fatalities occurring in the future. 

Her mobile-friendly website Health in Her Hands will strive to bring healthcare and monitoring system information to pregnant women at their convenience. 

Empowered with information provided by the website, the expecting mothers will at least know what to do, when to go in for checks and where to go.

The website also recently won third place in the very first Seedstars Apia event last month.

"It’s always intimidating to share an idea that you don’t necessarily know, just because there’s always that fear that someone is going to shoot that idea down and it can discourage you," Ms. Va'ai.

The Regional Scalability award was won by TUKI Collab Company Limited founder, Luana Ross, with her Ri-Vaiv Tumeric Juice, which comes with a wide range of health benefits.

The mother-of-two was excited to have been a part of the second Youth Co:Lab event in Samoa, and urged young entrepreneurs to join next year.

"Being a youth entrepreneur as a friend once said 'means freedom, it means that I don’t have to compromise on any of my morals, ethics or time for someone else’s agenda'.

"However, the road to freedom can be quite challenging, winning the Award of Regional Scalability, means that we’ve received a bit more freedom to express what we are, who we are and where we want to be, at the right time with the right people."

She described the Youth Co:Lab as a platform focusing on passion and improving business ideas that flow from that passion and connect with similarly passionate people.

"Safe space where you connect with likeminded people who face the same struggles as you, but still have the balls to keep going. It also transforms your weakness to become your strength and your threats into opportunities," said Luana.

"As for me personally, I trust that the process is just the beginning of what awesome opportunities lay ahead for TUKI Collab Co, Ltd, therefore I urge our young entrepreneurs to join the next one with an open mind and a passionate heart to trust the process."

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