The Innovative Six: African entrepreneurs selected from a pool of over 300 applicants to participate in the Innovate For Life Fund, designed to to support health-based tech startups. (Photo: Amref Health Africa)
September 21, 2018 — Amref Health Africa designed the Innovate For Life Fund to support home-grown innovations created to improve health by African entrepreneurs.
Amref Health Africa is proud to present the Innovative Six 2018: the six African start-ups that have been selected to join the Innovate for Life Fund this year. The start-ups have been selected out of over 300 applications coming from all over sub-Saharan Africa.
The selected ventures are: Baby Grubz from Nigeria, Baobab Circle from Kenya, Joelex from Uganda, Tiny Hearts Technology from Nigeria, Ujuzi Fursa Africa from Kenya and Wastinnova from Zimbabwe.
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.
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. “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,” he says. 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.
“Local entrepreneurs know all ins and outs of the market and therefore their solutions are often very appropriate and sustainable,” says Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa. “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.”
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.”