By: Ashley Okwuosa & Chuma Asuzu
Since the Maternal Figures team joined the Jamlab Accelerator Programme in October last year, we have learnt a number of things. We came into the programme with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) launched for more than a year as well as some data on how users were engaging with our platform. At the same time, we wanted to learn insights on how to interpret this data to grow our business and operating models.
As readers know from our previous blog, Maternal Figures tracks maternal health interventions in Nigeria, producing a comprehensive database that’s used in newsrooms across the country. This searchable tool is used by journalists and researchers within and outside the country and has been referenced over 250 times.
As part of the Jamlab programme, we have learnt to segment the visitors to our site and use the data to build personas that we can learn from. While we built the MVP with journalists in mind, researchers (both in graduate school and industry) use the site with a different frequency. The mentors in the Jamlab programme have helped us realise that different offerings can be built to cater to these different usage frequencies.
Another insight we have learnt is to develop the community of users of the database into a membership built along with the personas. Right now, the database is open to use by the public and once done, we do not follow up with them. Having a community — outside a newsletter that is one-sided — will improve our feedback generation with users.
Lastly, we are working on developing partnerships with media organisations across the continent that have a healthcare focus. This would help us understand the landscape a little better, particularly related to funding and sustainability.
We hope that our time as part of the Jamlab accelerator will help us learn how to make Maternal Figures a sustainable business for the long term. We’re learning a lot about the media business on the continent and what success could look like for a platform like Maternal Figures. The accelerator programme has also been a great way to connect with other media entrepreneurs and learn lessons from them as well.
The JamLab Accelerator is a six-month hothouse programme for journalism and media innovators. It is based at Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in the heart of Johannesburg.