In 2021, Yusuf Bilesanmi, a Nigerian innovator, was named the first recipient of the Africa Prize’s One-to-Watch Award during the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation final event.
Founded by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation, and has a proven track record of identifying successful engineering entrepreneurs.
Bilesanmi beat 11 other innovators from the 2021 shortlist who pitched their innovations to a live audience.
The award comes with a £5,000 prize. His innovation, ShiVent is a low-cost, non-electric, and non-invasive ventilator for patients with respiratory difficulties, was voted as one that showed promise and potential for impact. Describing it functionality, he said, “ShiVent does not require electricity, it is easy to install, non-invasive, and oxygen-efficient, and our belief is that it will help save lives when more expensive or oxygen-intensive technologies can’t get to patients. “The system works in three simple steps. First, the ShiVent connects to an existing oxygen source in the hospital setting which blends, air with the high-flow oxygen supply with a venturi-type air blender creating blended air safer for the patient. After that, the patient inhales oxygen to fill up the lungs and then exhales into a water column, creating back-end pressure that keeps the airways open,” he told The Punch, a Nigerian local newspaper in 2021.
Yusuf, experienced Innovative Product & Business Developer with over a decade of driving sustainable business growth across consumer electronics (Panasonic), energy markets (Mitsubishi Corporation), investment advisory (Flux Limited), cold chain infrastructure (Eja-Ice), sustainability advisory for companies and Respiratory care solutions (Shifa Tech).
Based in Leicester, United Kingdom, Shifa Technologies is a bio medical engineering company. Our flagship product, the ShiVent is a simple, low-cost, non-electric and oxygen efficient non-invasive ventilator which improves the chances of survival of patients with breathing difficulties (as in COVID-19) especially in low resource settings where mechanical ventilators are scarce and expensive. It does this by providing positive pressure from an oxygen cylinder which is blended with air, thus, providing an oxygen-air mixture that assists the work of breathing of patients.
Meanwhile, he has used all his life to learn and become a master in his chosen profession. He has a Bachelor of Science in Information and Communications Technology from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (Oita, Japan) and a Masters of Science in Information Systems from Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan). He has worked with multinationals – Panasonic Corporation as a Market and Life Research Analyst and with Mitsubishi Corporation as a Business Lead for Power and Infrastructure. He later had a post-graduate study at Cambridge University (CISL) on Corporate Sustainability. Presently, he is taking up a Ph.D. under the Energy Resilience and the Built Environment(ERBE) program at the University of Loughborough.