In conversation with Emily Gaizely, co-founder of VacTrack
Emily is a co-founder of VacTrack, a free digital health app aiming to improve access and adherence to vaccinations. At the beginning of the year the company announced their partnership with the London Vaccination Clinic to deliver the app amid the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Why did you apply for the Future Leaders Programme?
We applied to the Future Leaders Programme because the values it promotes completely set it apart from other accelerator programmes. Not only does the Future Leaders Programme deliver on industry-leading advice and practical guidance for companies at varying stages of development, but it also allows you to grow a vision for your business with core values at the centre, and encourages you to think about social, environmental and economic impact.
Why do you think it is important that business leaders of the future look different than the boardrooms of today?
We must move forward and strive for more diverse boardrooms because we need people with different life experiences, from different backgrounds to shape the way we do business so that we can create more successful and inclusive services and products, for all.
Can you talk a little bit about your experience on the programme?
In short: we joined the Future Leaders Programme with a mission and a product and left with a business.
My experience on the programme definitely exceeded expectations. The opportunity to talk to my peers and fellow entrepreneurs helped me with the day-to-day running of VacTrack, but also helped me think about the long-term vision of the company. The community created by the programme was definitely the highlight for me, and these relationships will last a lifetime.
In what ways have you grown professionally or personally through the incubator?
From a personal perspective, the Future Leaders Programme helped me gain confidence and feel optimistic about the future of VacTrack. This personal development was directly linked to the professional help and advice delivered during the programme. The scope of the workshops and topics covered enabled me to build a complete strategy with a focus on our core values as a company. The workshops covered everything from financials, sales, pitching, marketing and environmental impact which particularly resonated with me and definitely shaped the way VacTrack will operate in the future.
What would you say has helped you the most?
The opportunity to take part in the mentorship scheme has been invaluable. They have industry expertise in the market VacTrack is entering and have helped me build a commercial strategy around a realistic client-base and timeline. They have also helped me develop a marketing approach with practical advice to allow me to implement changes and pivot where necessary.
Why do you think there is a need for programmes like this?
The Future Leaders Programme is important because it confronts systemic social issues head-on. It actively promotes and supports diversity and inclusion in an industry which has historically been impenetrable to talent from different backgrounds. The skills, expertise and network opportunities offered by the Future Leaders Programme have undoubtedly helped me to grow VacTrack in an environment where these values are shared. The Future Leaders Programme enables like-minded people to come together and forge long-term partnerships.
What have you achieved since finishing the programme?
Since finishing the Future Leaders Programme, the UK has been subject to another three national lockdowns and seen four vaccines approved for use. The current climate has meant we have adapted our product to include features that help individuals store their Covid-19 certificate digitally.
We have been featured alongside Bill Gates in Finito World magazine, talking about how digital solutions could help us solve some of the biggest global health challenges. We also received funding to complete product development, and are excited to announce that the app is now available in the UK for free.
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