Women’s clinic attracts investors after global award

Patients at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.  Penda Health is targeting the  low-income earners.   FILE
Patients at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital. Penda Health is targeting the low-income earners. FILE 

Penda Health, a Nairobi-based women’s healthcare provider, has attracted renewed interest from investors after winning an international competition for small and medium-sized enterprises from emerging economies.

Competition for the BiD Network Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 was open to SMEs from emerging markets with viable business models that require funding of between $10,000 (Sh850,000) and $5,000,000 (Sh425 million) over the next five years.

The award ceremony was held in the Hague, Netherlands.

Penda Health co-founder Nicholas Sowden said in an interview that the healthcare firm had established contact with at least six investors following the win.

He said negotiations with the potential financiers are still at an early stage, but estimated that Penda Health will require about Sh85 million ($1 million) for expansion in the next two years.


“From 2014 we plan to be opening a clinic a month,” Mr Sowden told the Business Daily. Penda Health’s business model is based on serving a large number of low-income patients who are shunned by bigger hospitals that target higher profit margins.

The firm specialises in women health services such as breast and cervical cancer screening and family planning, in addition to general consultation, diagnostic tests and medicines.

Penda Health, which so far has one branch based in Kitengela, received $100,000 (Sh8.5 million) from six US and local investors in August to expand its business.

The money was raised from Eleos Foundation, an American group, and G7, a local investment company.

The health clinic said in August it charges outpatient consultation fee of Sh150 per patient, which increases to an average revenue per visit of Sh610 for patients who require medicine or several tests.

The Penda Health clinic has capacity to serve at least 80 patients a day and generate $50,000 (Sh4.2 million) in annual revenues, returning a 25 per cent profit margin.

A clinic needs initial working capital of $30,000 (Sh2.5 million) and it takes seven months to break even.

Penda Health won the top prize out of eight finalists shortlisted from hundreds of proposals presented at the Growing SMEs conference held on November 15.

Divine Masters, a food processing plant based in Uganda and AxIs, a Rwandese IT company, were among the eight finalists.

BiD International, the competition’s organisers, focuses on SMEs in emerging economies, acting as a bridge to link entrepreneurs and potential financiers.

Penda Health has planned to open four new clinics next year targeting mainly Donholm or Embakasi, Kasarani and Githurai areas.