Four years ago, Seesio Jonase Koetlisi started his private emergency medical agency, Pems 24 seven. They pride themselves on operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and getting their patients to the hospital alive.
The company’s primary objective is to provide pre-hospital care, fire and rescue services. The agency was inspired by the death of Koetlisi’s mother back in 2005. He said losing her made him realize the need for emergency medical services in his area and the necessity to “keep moving and make things better for others.”
The unrelenting fighter
A true private business, Koetlisi opened Pems 24 seven with many struggles and hardships. However, Koetlisi was not completely alone in this venture. He had the help of some classmates and his father, and now works alongside his brother as well.
When they founded the company, they only had one ambulance and struggled to find office space, hire staff and EMTs, register the business, and acquire a health certificate, among other major challenges. Today, Pems 24 seven has three ambulances and 12 employees, but still struggles with the lack of resources available in the area, which impacts the overall operations of the company.
Koetlisi juggles many tasks at Pems 24 seven. He plans business strategies, provides training for the employees, and more. In the coming years, he hopes to see the business expand throughout the rest of Lesotho. The country has ten districts, but the company is currently only based in the capital city of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, called Maseru.
The Mandela Fellow who is bringing so much back home
This year, Koetlisi was selected as one of the 25 of the University of Iowa’s Mandela Washington Fellows. Koetlisi is originally from the Leribe district, but moved to the Berea district in Lesotho, an African country known for their clean mountain water and lots of snow. After the program, Koetlisi plans to stay in the United States for a few extra weeks to continue his professional development experience in Phoenix, Arizona.
So far, Koetlisi’s favorite part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship program has been completing Venture School. He has learned a lot about the Business Model Canvas, his ideal customer type, and how to really define his target audience. All of these concepts will be incredibly helpful for him to bring home and put into action.
During the rest of his time as a Fellow, Koetlisi wants to learn how to better lead people in a corporate world, as well as how to work together with other supporting organizations, such as police and other government institutions. This is something he has noticed is being done in the United States, but these relationships have not yet been established in Lesotho.
Koetlisi says you never ever quit
For those aspiring to be entrepreneurs, Koetlisi has some wise advice. A quote he heard, and now lives by states, “Do not quit while you are tired, but quit when you are done.” Koetlisi says that you need to be willing to learn to accept diversity, think outside the box, share your ideas with other people, and most importantly, to not be change resistant. “If you want others to change – the change should start with you,” he stated.
Pems 24 seven hopes that people of goodwill will hear their loud cry for help and extend a helping hand for them to help others. Many of their clients cannot afford these services so his company often times ends up providing these services for free. After completing the Fellowship program, Koetlisi hopes to take home a few ideas on how to solve this challenge.