Sanofi seeks Africa’s healthcare-focussed innovators to enter 2019 VivaTech challenge




Sanofi, a global pharmaceutical manufacturer, has launched three contests for African start-ups to identify innovative solutions to improve access to healthcare and transform the health ecosystem throughout the continent. These will be pitched at VivaTech 2019, an annual technology conference, dedicated to innovation and startups, scheduled for Paris, France in May 16 to 18, 2019.

The three challenges aim to identify, select and support the best start-ups in their desire to invent tomorrow’s solutions in the health sector on the African continent. They illustrate Sanofi’s commitment to contribute locally by supporting the most daring and innovative entrepreneurs in the realization of their projects.

(TOP: R-L – Dr Loka Lantum, CEO, Sagitarix; Dr Tanvi Shah, CEO and co-founder of The PillShop; and Peter Munyasi, the Sanofi Kenya country chair and GM of GEM, during the launch of the 2019 VivaTech challenge). 

The startup contests are part of Sanofi’s strategy to support and encourage innovation in the African continent, in order to create a health ecosystem at the patient’s service and that includes all stakeholders in the sector: public authorities, private companies and start-ups, among others.

  • The first challenge is to provide solutions to enhance awareness, diagnosis and disease management of patients suffering from diabetes. Today, over two-thirds of adults living with diabetes in Africa are unaware of their condition. Once diagnosed, a majority of patients remains untreated or uncontrolled, mainly because of access and affordability, lack of medical capabilities and patient education. 
  • The second challenge focuses on how to improve access to medicines in remote areas from supply chain management to alternative payment solutions. This challenge should make it possible to develop innovative and personalized solutions, for better patient care, even in the most isolated areas. Sanofi is looking for tools developing systems reaching the “Last Mile” through e-commerce, direct to pharmacy, direct to patient and tailored payment solutions and can provide better health support for people.                         
  • Finally, the last challenge looks for solutions to support decision-makers in getting a better usage of available health data to recognize and predict diseases, for research purposes and to improve health care management. This challenge aims to identify solutions to assist in the decision-making process and the evaluation of public-private partnerships.

The selected start-ups will be invited to present their innovative solutions at Afric@Tech, a Lab dedicated to the African continent within Viva Technology. They will defend their projects in front of a jury consisting of Sanofi representatives and industry professionals, and will be able to demonstrate their solutions to the public.

A jury of professionals will select the final start-ups in February. Start-ups will be evaluated according to 5 criteria:

  • concrete evidence of positive results in at least one African country,
  • project maturity,
  • relevance of the solution,
  • market potential and business model, skills, expertise and experience of the team and
  • finally scientific evidence if applicable.

This call for projects is free and open to all. Registration can be done online as of now. Applicants have until February 15, 2019 to submit their entries online.

In 2018, Sanofi received 190 start-up applications and 10 were selected to join the Sanofi stand in the Afric@Tech dedicated space at VivaTech.




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