We’re delighted to feature our first “7 Question – 7 Sentence Interview.” Today’s interview is with Jane Chen the co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Embrace Innovations, a company which invented an innovative baby incubator which has already saved thousands of lives the world over. If you to support Embrace, you can donate or investigate volunteering here.
1. You and your team have created an incredible product that can save the lives of literally millions of premature babies every year, can you describe the moment when the idea of “embrace nest” was first conceived?
Embrace started out of a Stanford class in which my team was challenged to develop a baby incubator that would cost 1% of a traditional incubator; in our initial visits to Nepal to do research, we quickly realized we needed something that would look totally different – something that could function without constant electricity and be easy enough for a very basically trained healthcare worker, mother or midwife to use.
2. What is the smallest baby that “Embrace Nest has saved?
One of the smallest was a baby who weighed less than two pounds, who was rescued by an orphanage in China; the baby was kept in our warmer for nearly 30 days, survived, and was adopted by a family in Chicago!
3. Are many “western people” surprised at the enormity of the problem? (remind us exactly how many babies dies each year because of hypothermia).
Yes – many people don’t know there are 20 million low birth weight and premature babies born each year around the world, mostly in developing countries, and that 3 million babies die every year within the first month of life.
4. What sacrifices did you and your team personally have to make to bring this product to market?
The whole team moved to India after we graduated from Stanford to bring the product to market, where I lived for four years – it was extremely challenging personally for all of us, but it has definitely been worth it to have helped over 60,000 babies to date.
5. Did you have any doubters along the way? Could you tell us of one such experience?
Yes, there were people who didn’t believe a team without medical background could get this idea off the ground, and those who didn’t believe we would survive in India – we faced so many nay sayers along the way, but just kept on going.
6. What is the biggest challenge still facing your team at Embrace?
We’re now hoping to start scaling our product globally, and figuring out the best way to do that, as well as innovating on new product ideas for low cost healthcare technologies that address infant mortality.
7. What single piece of advice would you give any other young social entrepreneur wanting to follow in the Embrace team’s path?
My advice would be to take a risk and follow your dreams, because when you really want something, all the world will conspire to help you achieve it (Paulo Coehlo) – I truly believe by taking small steps in what may seem insurmountable, people can change the world.
Interview By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog.