Thirty companies from 14 African countries will benefit from a $7 million fund fronted by pan-African support organization Investing in Innovation (i3). The selected startups will receive at least a $50,000 grant and support to catalyse growth-driven partnerships with donors, industry and institutions.
Among them are two Kenyan health-tech startups Zuri health and Damu Sasa, both of which are working in diverse fields within the healthcare ecosystem.
The program is funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, AUDA-NEPAD, and AmerisourceBergen.
The initiative 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.
Here are the selected companies:
- 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% of the companies are operating in Francophone 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,” Said Ann Allen, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr Abdullahi Sheriff, Associate Vice President of Global Market Access at MSD noted that all the innovations presented by the selected startups are inspiring and have the potential to turn around healthcare in their respective spaces.
“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.” Dr. Abdullahi said.