KENYA – The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) and Villgro Africa have launched the Kenya Healthcare Innovation Programme which opens opportunity for all with the potential to improve optimal health outcomes or make healthcare more to present their ideas.

Villgro, formerly known as Rural Innovations Network, is among India’s oldest social enterprise incubators with well-established roots in Kenya since 2017. Villgro funds, mentors and incubates early-stage, innovation-based social enterprises that impact communities.

The program by KeNIA will award participants with the best solutions with cash prizes and access to other resources courtesy of the partnership with Villgro.

Villgro Africa will provide US$10,000 – US$5,000 for first place, US$3,000 for first runner-up and US$2,000 for second runner-up, while other startup resource providers will be invited to add to the awards.

Awardees will be given the opportunity to participate in a bootcamp that includes business training to support commercially viable products and services. The training will also prepare startups for pitching to potential investors.

Financial awards, including incubation support, will be presented to the top three finalists during the Kenya Innovation Week pitch fest in December.

The COVID-19 pandemic has showcased Kenyan innovation in the healthcare space. We have seen multiple ventilators developed, PPE manufacturing increased, and emergency response services operationalised. I am happy to lead this effort to reach out to innovative Kenyans who are solving healthcare problems in unique ways,” said Wambui Nyabero, chief technology officer at Villgro Africa.

This funding by Villgro, follows a US$170,000 fund the impact investor unveiled in June this year, benefiting four healthfocused startups in Africa, two of them being Kenya’s DawaPay and Damu-Sasa.

DawaPay and Damu-sasa both secured US$50,000 in funding each, funds which will enable the start-ups support the continent healthcare delivery system while improving and saving lives.

Damu-Sasa provides a cloud-based, end-to-end blood services information management system to support the sourcing of blood, managing inventory and transfusion processes.

Damu-Sasa had also previously benefited from a US$20,000 grant funding from Villgro Africa to enable it to enhance its contributions to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 recently.

DawaPay is a digital platform that partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers in promoting last-mile distribution of affordable essential medicines and laboratory consumables.

As of last year, Villgro Africa had enabled access to healthcare to those at the bottom of the pyramid, and successfully supported 21 enterprises with seed funding totaling US$1 million.

Enterprises supported by Villgro have generated revenues amounting US$2.2 million, touching 2 million lives.

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