Caterina was already friends with Franco and Barbara, two classmates in bio-medical engineering. They also became enthusiastic about the project and joined forces to turn the dream into a social enterprise.
In October of 2019, they visited Tanzania and Uganda to meet with doctors at hospitals. The enthusiasm they encountered, combined with winning several awards for start-ups, convinced them their model could work.
As 2020 came to a close, BioVerse formed a partnership with a large Italian organisation called Doctors with Africa (CUAMM). CUAMM cooperates with dozens of hospitals, small health centers, villages and universities alongside local people in eight sub-Saharan African countries, including Tanzania.
In February or March this year, BioVerse, in cooperation with CUAMM, plans to take its prototype device to Tosamaganga hospital in the Iringa District of Tanzania to test it with patients.
Helping the idea spread
The engineers have approached their business with a commitment to ethics. They want the Corax Lifebox to be built as much as possible in the countries where it will be used, thus providing jobs and helping local economies.
They are making overtures to manufacturers in Tanzania and Uganda. They estimate each unit will cost a hospital about €2,500. They hope the cost will come down as more devices are built. They plan to make the Corax Lifebox an open-source project, so that new developments can be shared, helping the device spread faster.
“Open-source gave us the possibility to announce our model publicly,” Franco says. “We give the chance for others to make it too, to profit from it, and give us a percentage or be paid for consulting, because in the end the device will be more affordable, and our vision is a device that’s for everyone.”