The Pan-African “Investing in Innovation” program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, and AmerisourceBergen, has aims to invest in the most promising African startups in the start-up phase or impacting the supply chain of health products. This program has just selected 30 startups in 14 African countries.
Investing in Innovation (i3), a pan-African initiative supporting healthcare supply chain start-ups in Africa, has announced its first cohort of 30 startups.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, and AmerisourceBergen, i3 brings together major donors, industry leaders and African institutions to initiate a new approach to business supporting health innovations made by Africans.
A grant of US$50,000
Selected startups will receive a $50,000 grant and support to catalyze growth-oriented partnerships with donors, industry leaders, and institutions.
The 30 selected startups come from 14 African countries. These companies, which are in the start-up or growth phase, offer innovative solutions, in particular for the distribution of drugs and medical equipment, the management and financing of stocks, authentication, traceability and the management of medical waste. They demonstrate that made-in-Africa solutions are poised to help transform access to health products in many ways. 47% of businesses are led by women (which the program defines as having at least one woman with an equity stake and an active leadership role), and 30% of businesses operate in Francophone Africa.
The selected startups
The selected startups are: Aviro Health (South Africa), Contro (South Africa), Zinacare (South Africa), Appy Saude (Angola), Infiuss Health limited (Cameroon), Valorigo (Congo), Meditect (Côte d’ Ivoire), Erith Health Services (Ghana), Damu Sasa (Kenya), The Pathology Network (Kenya), Negus Med (Kenya), Zuri Health (Kenya) Xetova (Kenya), DeepEcho (Morocco), Medevice (Morocco), Sobrus (Morocco), Chekkit Technologies (Nigeria), Disrupt Pharma Tech Africa – Medsaf (Nigeria), DrugStoc Ehub Limited (Nigeria), Gricd (Nigeria), LifeBank (Nigeria), Lifestores Healthcare (Nigeria), OneHealth (Nigeria),
ClinicPesa (Uganda), Signalytic (Uganda), Viebeg Technologies (Rwanda), Dr Sett (Senegal), Cure Bionics (Tunisia), VaxiGlobal (Zimbabwe), Azanza Health (Zimbabwe).
i3 is coordinated by Salient Advisory, SCIDaR and SouthBridge A&I and is implemented by the main technological centers of the continent: CcHUB for West Africa, Startupbootcamp Afritech for Southern Africa, IMPACT Lab for North Africa and Francophone, and Villgro Africa for East Africa.
These hubs are responsible for the selection process and monitoring of startups throughout the program.
Ann Allen, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, comments: “Digital-enabled, locally-led innovations have enormous potential to help address the challenges of access to medicines for historically unserved patients in Africa. We are thrilled to see female leaders at the helm of many of these start-ups, because we know that innovation ecosystems are strengthened by diversity. »
Dr. Abdullahi Sheriff, Associate Vice President of Global Market Access at MSD, noted, “The innovation represented by the selected start-ups is inspiring. At MSD, we are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with these leading innovators through i3, to help transform healthcare supply chains and improve access to drugs across Africa”
Efosa Ojomo, Director of Global Prosperity at the Clayton Christensen Institute, and member of the i3 Steering Committee, also commented: “i3’s focus on African ingenuity is long overdue – supporting local innovations, to scale will enable the continent to achieve health gains, generate prosperity and overcome future crises. »
Prashant Yadav, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Professor at INSEAD, Chair of the i3 Steering Committee, also commented
“The breadth of innovation represented by the cohort of selected companies confirms that data-driven innovations can play an important role in rapidly improving the resilience of healthcare supply chains in Africa. »