Dr. Christine O. Cole is by all measures a very accomplished woman. She is a Pharmacist, a practicing clinician at Sierra Leone’s Connaught Hospital, a lecturer at the Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics at College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and she holds an MSc in Therapeutics from Cardiff University. As if she wasn’t busy enough, Dr Cole can now also add entrepreneur to her growing list of credentials with the opening of her very own pharmacy. Days after the opening of Wellness Pharma in Freetown, SwitSalone caught up with Dr. Cole to find out how she did it.
SwitSalone: Why did you decide to go into business?
It was important for me as pharmacist, to provide excellent and quality pharmaceutical services, and practice my profession in the field of business. I saw this venture as an extension of my profession with an entrepreneurial twist. I am passionate about wellness and I care about quality drugs being offered to the sick. I thus decided to combine these two and open my own pharmacy.
SwitSalone: How did you get your start-up capital?
I got my start-up capital mostly from my long term savings. As this has been a dream since I finished pharmacy school, I was determined to set aside some of my earnings and save up for this entrepreneurial venture.
SwitSalone: What is unique about the services that you offer?
It’s not just about selling drugs, it’s also about providing excellent pharmaceutical care. That is why at Wellness Pharma, we provide free blood pressure testing and monitoring, disease screening (e.g rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, diabetes, Sexually Transmitted Diseases among others). Having professional expertise in both fields of both medicine and pharmacy, I provide well-rounded consultation to customers. This ensures effective and holistic care when clients come to the pharmacy.
SwitSalone: What is your vision for the pharmacy?
I hope to get many retail outlets that will provide optimum pharmaceutical care, especially in remote areas of the country where such services do not exist.
SwitSalone: What are the most significant challenges so far about running a business in Freetown?
One of the challenges is time. Running a business requires a lot of time and personal investment. As a career woman, it takes a lot of commitment and dedication to start up a new business. Another challenge is marketing and advertising in order to attract more clients. It is also challenging to find a team of workers who share your vision for the business.
SwitSalone: What would be your advice to any woman planning on opening and running a pharmacy in Sierra Leone?
Do not be afraid because you are a woman. From my experience, people were very supportive about opening a business. I did not experience any hostility from other people in the business because of my gender. However, do not expect things to be handed out to you on a silver platter simply because you are a woman. It takes consistent hard work and perseverance to forge ahead and realize your dreams. Never be afraid to own your dreams and work hard to bring them to actuality and fruition.
Wellness Pharmacy: 23 Main Motor Road, Congo Cross E: [email protected]
NOMINATE YOURSELF OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW TO BE FEATURED HERE
Know someone doing something excellent in business? Nominate them to be featured here on SwitSalone Business – Email your nominee’s name and contact (email and telephone) and a couple lines about their business. Can be someone new to business with a new brand, or someone with years of experience. Email our editor: [email protected]