For the second year around, the Innovate for Life Fund is working with the most innovative healthcare entrepreneurs in Sub Sahara Africa. The 5 five-month accelerator program successfully completed two intensive weeks, The first in September and the second one was held very recently, November 5 – 9, 2018. Both hosted at Amref International University.
This year’s cohort consist of six entrepreneurs. They were carefully selected out of over 300 applications coming from all over sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s innovative six are:
- Seun Sangoleye, founder of Baby Grubz. A social enterprise that manufactures and distributes baby food in Nigeria, and other West African countries.
- Virtue Oboro, founder of Tiny Hearts Technology. A medical manufacturing company that produces the “Crib A glow” Phototherapy Unit. A device used for the treatment of neonatal jaundice in newborn babies.
- Paul Mugambi from Kenya of Baobab Circle. He is part of the team that has developed Africa’s first, low cost diabetes and hypertension mobile app.
- Jinit Shah, the man behind Ujuzi Fursa Africa. The venture is a workforce development center offering training on caregiving. It also deploys, employs and outsources certified caregivers to hospitals, retirement homes, and individual homes who require dedicated elderly care.
- Joel Mukasa, founder of Joelex. The enterprise makes water and sanitation accessible and affordable for the urban poor in Uganda by building and operating toilets and showers. They safely dispose the collected waste by turning it into cleaner-burning charcoal briquettes used as cooking energy within slums and markets.
- And finally Stuart Nyakatswau from Zimbabwe, founder of Wastinnova. The company aims to decrease biohazard waste disposal from health-care and research centers and medical laboratories. They increase recycling through environmentally sustainable methods.
The accelerator teamed up with partners Grassroots Business Fund to provide mentorship and guidance to the entrepreneurs. This year the entrepreneurs had insightful and motivating visits to MOH, Ruiru IV Hospital, GSK, Virtual City, and Oracle. The team also got to tour some of the Amref facilities both at the University and at the country offices. They furthermore interacted with the relevant staff/departments in which they were able to get further insight and mentorship into scaling up their innovative solutions and also explore possible avenues of collaboration between the entrepreneurs and Amref Programmes.
Introduction during Second Intensive Week with Dr. Kimathi, Director, Institute of Capacity Development
Similarly through the visits and workshop sessions connections were made to entice possible future partnerships. While officially launching this year’s accelerator programmer Amref GCEO, Dr. Githinji, gave an inspiring talk on why we need innovation and how the entrepreneurs can benefit from Amref. He said he’s looking for the three R’s: the solutions need to be Real, Relevant, and also needs to Resonate. The various workshop sessions touched on appropriate and focused pitching, engaging stakeholders and investors, strategic planning, locating opportunities and fundraising.