Venture4Change contest seeks innovations on how to improve youth sanitation and hygiene

Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company, has collaborated with Kenyatta and Strathmore universities in Nairobi, Kenya to launch the Making More Health Venture4Change idea competition. The competition is an adaptable local and global development program that aims to unlock the creative potentials of young aspiring professionals.

The program encourages participants to develop innovative, scalable and sustainable solutions on how to improve sanitation and hygiene for children and youths aged between 6-25 years. It further aims to foster ideas that create a holistic approach towards local communities engagement and empowerment. This goal will be achieved by co-creating   with various experts and several partners from different sectors or businesses to discuss best practices in health and more specifically, on improving hygiene for the younger population across the country.

(TOP: Lilian Mwaura -centre-; Faheem Sadik and Juma Onyango – right – all from Strathmore University pose with their certificates after emerging winners in the Venture4Change contest sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim). 

About 25 students from Kenyatta and Strathmore University participated in a series of workshops focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship. The workshops integrated keynote speakers, social innovation advocates and practitioners. Participants worked in project teams and actively engaged in tackling group tasks and assignments that combine theory and practice.

As a part of the MMH initiative, Venture4Change incorporated modules that encourage disruptive thinking and identify new solutions and business models for students. It laid a definitive focus on collaboration, project sustainability, simple and efficient solutions, and employee engagement, among others. 

MMH is a global initiative that seeks to promote social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and doing by finding innovative business models that create a benefit for the wider society. The initiative is focussing on bringing together both business and social knowledge. This combination is to improve health in communities through identifying and supporting the most promising solutions to overcome health challenges. 

Sabine Emmerich, Boehringer Ingelheim, Global lead of Making More Health Venture4Change programs said, “This is a unique initiative that paves the way for stronger collaboration and partnership with the local community, supporting their entrepreneurial mind-set and supporting their inspiration and ambition of giving back to the community they live in. Our aim is to create new opportunities through innovative approaches. By partnering with new talents, universities, professors, teachers, as well as employees, the output presented will contribute to the development of sustainable solutions for all participants and their communities.”

“Boehringer Ingelheim has been at the forefront of introducing a broad range of initiatives that are focused on creating sustainable value in Kenya and the wider African continent. We work with local, regional and multinational leaders to support the development of innovative healthcare solutions, increase awareness of key disease priorities as well as prevention mechanisms through reach and enrich knowledge and education programs. Venture4Change offers the chance to explore business models and provides a unique leadership experience. We are driving co-creation by amplifying social impact via a Win-Win collaboration module between low-income communities and university students,” added Sabine Emmerich.

At the end of the program, the 3 finalist teams will be given the opportunity to implement their ideas on the ground in partnership with MMH partners in slums or rural areas of Kenya. Furthermore, the students will walk away with a sensitivity for social needs and top-level industry skills in the areas of global health, business development, pitching, leadership, presentation, and social entrepreneurship skills. 

In addition, Paul Ochieng, Dean of Students at Strathmore University noted: “In Kenya, social innovation is soaring, and we want to be able to accelerate that through collaborations and partnerships with organizations that add more value to the wider social infrastructure. The MMH Venture4Change Program allows participants to embrace top-level industry skills in multiple fields including business development, leadership presentation while also enhancing their social entrepreneurship skills. This will be coupled with teamwork skills as well as key learnings on the applications of innovation to drive strong impact.”

Further, Vice-Chancellor, Prof Paul Wainaina: “Kenyatta University promotes the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for the accelerated impact of new solutions, which is made better through partnerships such as the one with Boehringer Ingelheim, Innovations in Healthcare and Duke University

Kenya is home to one of the most established innovation ecosystems in Africa, where new investment projects are helping to create more sustainable businesses across the country. Boehringer Ingelheim, as a part of its commitment to fostering the next generation of innovators in healthcare, will continue to collaborate with start-ups, innovators, entrepreneurs, and academia to help bring their innovations to live and contribute to growing the innovation culture in the region.

Making More Health (MMH) is a global initiative by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim in cooperation with Ashoka, a non-governmental organisation. Aiming to improve healthcare for humans and animals worldwide, Making More Health pursues a multitude of approaches to finding solutions and tailoring these solutions to specific projects. 

“By supporting and connecting social entrepreneurs in the healthcare industry, Boehringer Ingelheim seeks to have an impact on improving health beyond its core business. We do not want to limit ourselves to linear approaches to solutions. Indeed, since the initiative’s inception, we have focused on a multitude of issues and activities while supporting lateral thinking and networking. Making More Health also plays a very significant role within the company. We want to show our employees how important it is to be dedicated to social issues because it fosters new ways of thinking beyond traditional approaches,” explains Manuela Pastore, global lead of Making More Health at Boehringer Ingelheim.

Boehringer Ingelheim employees can become involved in Making More Health in a variety of ways. With the MMH Executive in Residence Program, Boehringer Ingelheim employees go on a specific location to support the projects of social entrepreneurs. The MMH Venture4Change Program supports the next generation in developing solutions for the healthcare industry, thereby encouraging social entrepreneurship and action. 


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