- Each start-up will receive at least $50,000 from the program.
- Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the program aims to bridge the gap between African-led businesses, investors, and donor agencies.
- The program is also sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, AUDA-NEPAD, and AmerisourceBergen.
Investing in Innovation (i3), a pan-African support initiative for African health supply chain start-ups, has announced its first cohort of 30 companies selected from 14 African countries that will benefit from its $7 million fund. The selected start-ups will receive at least a $50,000 grant and support to catalyse growth-driven partnerships with donors, industry and institutions.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, AUDA-NEPAD, and AmerisourceBergen, the program aims to bridge the gap between African-led businesses, investors, and donor agencies. To this end, i3 is uniting leading donors, industry and African institutions to jump-start a new way of doing business to support African-led innovations in health.
The selected companies are, in alphabetical order:
- Chekkit Technologies
- Disrupt Pharma Tech Africa (Medsaf)
- DrugStoc Ehub Limited
- Erith Health Services
- Lifestores Healthcare
- Damu Sasa
- The Pathology Network
- Negus Med
- Viebeg Technologies
- Zuri Health
- Cure Bionics
- Dr Sett
- Infiuss Health Limited
- Azanza Health
- Appy Saude
- Aviro Health
47% of the companies are women-led (which the program defines as having at least one woman with an equity stake and active executive leadership role), and 30% operate in Francophone Africa.
According to Ann Allen, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Digitally-enabled, locally-led innovations have huge potential to help address the challenges of access to medicines for historically unserved patients in Africa. “We are thrilled to see strong women leaders at the helm of many of these start-ups, as we know innovation ecosystems are strengthened by diversity,” she added.
Dr Abdullahi Sheriff, Associate Vice President of Global Market Access at MSD noted, “The innovation represented by the start-ups selected is inspiring. At MSD, we are excited to collaborate with these leading innovators through i3, to help transform health care supply chains and improve access to medicines across Africa.”
i3 is coordinated by Salient Advisory, SCIDaR, and SouthBridge A&I and is operationalised by leading technology hubs across the continent: CCHub for West Africa, Startupbootcamp for Southern Africa, IMPACT Lab for North and French-speaking Africa, and Villgro Africa for East Africa. These hubs are responsible for the selection process and the follow-up of the startups throughout the program.