Kazakhstan project for pregnant women: interview with the founder of the startup "On Moms"
In the first contest of IT startups Qaz Startup Battle, aimed at developing the Kazakh language and content, On Moms, a birth preparation startup from leading experts in the Kazakh language, took third place. The founder of the project, Sabira Kulchimbayeva, is a doctor of medical sciences, an obstetrician-gynecologist, a psychologist, the head of the Academy for Pregnant Women "On-moms", as well as a trainer for preparing for childbirth at the Multidisciplinary City Hospital No. 2, Nur-Sultan.
In an interview, she talked about what inspired her to create a project for expectant mothers, how a startup is developing, and about the first-ever Qaz Startup Battle IT startup competition aimed at developing the Kazakh language and content.
- How did you come up with the idea of creating the On Moms project? What existing problem does your project solve?
- The idea came after I was approached by a pregnant woman from the city of Dzhezkazgan: she was terribly afraid to give birth to a second child, because her first-born died due to improper behavior - he suffocated when she was very tired in labor and pushed for a long time, not hearing the commands of doctors . She could not prepare for childbirth due to the fact that there were no courses in the Kazakh language.
And there are many such cases, because we have 62% of the population - Kazakh-speaking, pregnant women give birth in rural areas, where there is no way to provide emergency expert assistance, it takes a long time to get to the regional hospital, there are no funds, climatic conditions interfere (ice or forty-degree heat), which are also harmful for the health of the expectant mother.
We began to study this problem more deeply in the regions of southern Kazakhstan, since there is the highest birth rate of children. It was then that we ran into a problem: many residents of the settlements did not understand the Russian language.
- What difficulties did you encounter during the development of the project?
- The culture of preparation for childbirth abroad is obligatory, in the USA and in most of the countries of Europe preparation for childbirth is given great attention, this culture is not yet developed in our country - this is the first. Each person must be responsible for their own health and for the health of their future children.
The second is the insufficient level of literacy of citizens in IT. According to our data, many do not know how to use the site or how to manage the WhatsApp bot. We took this into account and decided to make video courses more convenient and accessible for women in labor from anywhere in Kazakhstan. In our video tutorials, we talk about how to overcome the fear of childbirth, how to breathe properly during labor and how to maintain mental health after having children. It is important for us that women improve their literacy with the help of systematic and reliable information from professionals in the Kazakh language.
Another difficulty is that not all Kazakh-speaking women in labor are aware of our mobile application. We would like such important innovations to be spoken about more and more throughout Kazakhstan.
- At what stage of implementation is your project and what are your plans for its development?
- Our project is at the MVP stage, that is, we have created a minimum viable product and are introducing sales.
Now we are looking for investors to systematize the mobile application. I would like to note that a grant in the amount of 500,000 tenge from the Astana Hub international technopark of IT startups for the third place in the Qaz Startup Battle competition of IT startups aimed at developing the Kazakh language and content will help us a lot to solve financial issues in finalizing the mobile application.
We also need investments for rapid scaling. I understand that we need to establish cooperation with large partners who produce products necessary for children and mothers, such as Huggies, Johnson & Johnson and others. We plan to work with companies from Kazakhstan and the CIS.
We also collect money for the implementation of the application on the site of the start-time.kz crowdfunding platform and actively invite people who want to contribute to the future of a healthy nation.
- The "On Moms" project became one of the winners of the Qaz Startup Battle IT startup competition. What can you say about the event?
- We learned about the competition through the Nazarbayev University accelerator and immediately applied for participation. To be honest, we did not expect that we would win, since all the members of the jury of the competition were men. However, we were pleasantly surprised that government officials and businessmen became interested in the project, noting the relevance of helping pregnant women, not only as professionals in their field in the IT field, but also as caring partners who understand the importance of the health of expectant mothers! Thank you!