The YABT entrepreneurs of the month are Tales Gomes and Felipe Dias, co-founders of Plataforma Saude, a social business based in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Plataforma Saude won the social innovation Award in TIC Americas 2015. Recently, Tales was nominated by the YABT to participate in a Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s activity on entrepreneurship in Berlin to share his experience on running a social business in Brazil with German policy-makers and incubators. Moreover, Forbes named Felipe and Tales as two of the 30 most promising entrepreneurs.
Plataforma Saude uses mobile technologies to improve access to quality health care to communities with little or no access to basic health care. It first started in 2014 after Tales participated in a Start-Up Weekend in Rio de Janeiro and met a young man in a slum about his my same age, that lost his leg after not being treated in time for diabetes.Tales and Felipe soon realized that what happened to this man was not an isolated case and that according to the World Health Organization over 16 million people die prematurely every year because of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Tales and Felipe conceived Plataforma Saúde as a way to give people access to primary care and to help people get information about their health, take ownership of their future health and change their lifestyle in a positive way before it is too late.
We asked Tales what inspired him to begin his social startup in the first place despite the fact that he had a successful career path in the private sector. Tales asserted “I used to work for other companies and would always find myself thinking of ways the company could expand and create new products, as an "intrapreneur". Starting a business to make money did not seem enough, which is why I started to look for this missing part. After going to events and reading content from organizations such as Ashoka, Endeavor and Artemisia, I learned that there is a name for what I wanted to do with my career: social entrepreneurship, which aims to combine profit and purpose.”
After winning TIC Americas, great opportunities opened up to Plataforma Saude’s team. Plataforma Saude was accepted in Startup Chile. Tales and Felipe hope that through this participation they will be able to expand operations further in Latin American and to develop new core products. Moreover, its team has been recognized by the United Nations, MIT under 35 and Forbes Brazil. However and most importantly, Plataforma Saude’s base has increased 125% since April 2015 and added 5 more people to the team.
We asked Tales and Felipe to share some piece of valuable advice with all of the youth that want to begin to start up a business, he told us “1. Keep it simple: sometimes entrepreneurs just get caught up in trying to show how smart they are by making their product look super fancy. Even if their products are complex, it is always more effective to present it with simplicity. 2. Manage your time wisely: we all have 24 hours in a day but some people accomplish more than others. If you can't set priorities in an effective way, your day is over at the blink of an eye and you don't get things done; 3. Never lose your purpose: tough times come for any entrepreneur and it is easy to give up if you are not fighting for something you’re passionate about. Create things that really matter for you and your team.”