The selfless entrepreneur saving lives with technology


Ashley Uys is a leader in every sense. The eldest child in his family, he was compelled to set an example from a young age. So today he’s doing just that – helping millions in the process. An innovator in science and health care, Uys has developed a malaria testing kit that will detect the disease in under 30 minutes. Quicker results, quicker treatment. That’s just one of the goals the scientist is ticking off his list.

He began by completing his BSc in 2002, and Honours in Biotechnology a year later at the University of the Western Cape. After working as a research assistant, Uys realised the potential he had as a scientist and entrepreneur, starting his first business at the age of 24. Within the next decade, Uys had two more companies under his name. Today, his team at Medical Diagnostech produces roughly 20 million testing kits per year for HIV, pregnancy, malaria, and drugs.

Uys’ long list of accolades is testament to his dedication. In 2008, SAB awarded him the Kick Start National Business of the Year Award. He was the Western Cape Business Opportunity Forum Young Entrepreneur of 2010. Forbes included him in their 30 Under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs list in 2012, and named him one of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs in 2014. There are business people who work for their own gain, and then there are those who selflessly strive to make a difference. Uys is the latter. While working to save lives, he’s also providing jobs in the process for unskilled manual labourers. South Africa has a long way to go in terms of healthcare and employment. But progress begins when we work together. Uys is showing us how.

Stacey Silvestri