Two Kenya-based start-ups are among six African start-ups selected to benefit from the 2018 Amref Africa’s Innovate for Life Fund Accelerator programme. The start-ups have been selected out of over 300 applications drawn from all over sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya’s Baobab Circle and Ujuzi Fursa Africa joins Nigerian firms Baby Grubz and Tiny Hearts Technology as well as JOELEX from Uganda and Wastinnova from Zimbabwe. All of the selected ventures are developing an innovative solution to improve health care in Africa and their leadership is African-driven.
(TOP: The homepage of Baobab Circle, one of the Kenyan firms selected for the Innovate for Life Fund Accelerator programme).
This year’s innovative solutions are highly diverse and include: a”Crib A ‘glow” Phototherapy Unit, a device used for the treatment of neonatal jaundice in newborn babies; a diabetes and hypertension self-management app; a digital hospital waste management system; a health workforce development centre; and, highly nutritious baby food from local produce.
The Innovative Six 2018 vetting process was conducted by a health panel and a selection committee, consisting of African health care stakeholders and key investors in African ventures. Through Innovate for Life’s five-month accelerator programme, specifically designed for the African health context, the six entrepreneurs will be embedded in the Amref Health Africa organisation.
“The Innovate for Life Fund is unique because it is the only programme specific for African start-ups in the health sector and it offers unrivalled knowledge of the health ecosystem and business coaching to help health start-ups achieve scale faster,” said Dr Charles Akhimien, founder of Nigerian-based MOBicure, was among the first six entrepreneurs to take part in the Innovate for Life Fund programme when it launched in 2017. Through his experience in the Innovate for Life Fund programme, Charles has been able to increase the number of users on MOBicure’s OMOMi (maternal and child health) app to 40,000 and on-board its first set of paying customers on OMOMi’s Chat with a doctor service.
Now in its second year, the Innovate for Life Fund aims to support African entrepreneurs to accelerate home-grown health solutions for the African market. Amref Health Africa believes that African-based, local innovations, with the realities of each country and each community embedded at their core, are vital for lasting health solutions.
Amref group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi, said that Local entrepreneurs know all ins and outs of the market and therefore their solutions are often very appropriate and sustainable.
“Local solutions for local challenges is in the DNA of Amref Health Africa, which makes the Innovate for Life Fund programme such a good fit. For over 60 years we have partnered with communities and governments to improve health in Africa. This experience is invaluable for entrepreneurs,” said Dr Githinji.
The Innovate for Life Fund is supported by the Elsevier Foundation. “The Innovate for Life Fund has proven how critical an African health tech accelerator is, bridging a very real gap between brilliant ideas and investors in Africa.” said Ylann Schemm, Director of the Elsevier Foundation. “The 2018 cohort of entrepreneurs will further stimulate tech-driven health solutions for and by Africans.”