When Elliot Gatt was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 17, it was difficult news for him and his parents to take. Even more difficult was the almost prohibitive cost of insulin and test strips that, without employer-provided benefits, had to be paid out of pocket.

There are some programs that aim to help families shoulder the cost of supplies, but they often take a long time (up to two years) to get into, or only cover a fraction of the total annual cost of supplies for one person. As a result, approximately 57 per cent of Canadians with diabetes don’t follow their prescribed treatment due to cost.

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Guessing your levels could lead to drastic health consequences,” Elliot explains. “If you don’t test, guessing could lead to dangerous lows, or highs that can have a serious impact on your sight, your general health, and could eventually lead to loss of life.”

Like many entrepreneurs, Elliot saw opportunity in his family’s struggle. Admiring businesses operating on a monthly subscription model as well as companies that give back to those in need, Elliot approached diabetic test strips the same way. The result is Good Glucos: a company that provides high-quality, low-cost diabetic test strips on a monthly subscription basis. For every 12 new subscribers, Good Glucos supplies a 12-month subscription to someone in need. “[The program is] the only one of its kind in the world,” says Elliot.

To qualify for the 12 for 12 program, potential recipients fill out an application form on the website. “We sort through them based on need,” explains Elliot. The company prioritizes those who are the most in need (for example, those having to choose between buying groceries and paying for test strips) for the program. To date, Good Glucos has given subscriptions to people across North America, Morocco, and Gambia.

“We’re being disruptive in a positive way,” Elliot explains.

Since January, Elliot has been operating Good Glucos out of TEC Innovation District as a part of the launch program. “We’ve created a six-month plan focusing on building the right team, acquiring customers, and having the right partners and processes in place,” Elliot says. “People here have helped keep us on track.”

According to Elliot, one of the biggest challenges the company faced so far is the perception that what they’re doing is too good to be true. “It’s not what people are used to,” Elliot explains. “People think because of the price point, it must be cheap, which is not true. It’s the most accurate glucometer within the subscription market.”

The next challenge for Good Glucos is to get the infrastructure in place to grow its customer base. “We’re growing our presence at a rapid pace in Canada and the USA,” Elliot says. “We’ve sold in over 24 states so far, and we want to hit them all.”

Elliot is spending the next 60 days biking East to West across the United States as a part of a Bike Beyond team to raise money for Type 1 Diabetes research. Elliot’s team of 20 has raised $100,000 for the cause. “The purpose is to raise funds and raise awareness that diabetics can do anything they want,” says Elliot.

If you know someone who’s diabetic or an educator, please share. Keep in touch with Good Glucos on Twitter, and follow the bike journey at @teambikebeyond.

Apply to be a part of the TEC Innovation District Launch Program here!