SOUTH AFRICA – South African Startupbootcamp AfriTech (SBC) has partnered with Moroccan consulting firm Southbridge A&I and its Canadian partner Salient Advisory to launch a US$7 million innovator support program for healthtech companies to provide pooled working capital solutions in Africa.

The program aims to identify early-stage or growth-stage innovators across the continent that can make a tangible impact on public health particularly in terms of availability, accessibility, quality or transparency of health supply chains.

In 2021, Southbridge A&I and Salient Advisory published a joint report on the financing challenges of healthcare delivery companies in Africa where they proposed two continental mechanisms to better direct international funding to African startups and to provide pooled working capital solutions in Africa.

The US$7 million pan-African initiative follows the recommendation by Southbridge A&I, Salient Advisory and SCIDaR outlined in a healthcare report and the innovator support program will be headed by Startupbootcamp AfriTech

Startupbootcamp AfriTech will serve as implementation partner for the introduction of the Investing in Innovation Program for African healthtech firms intended to revolutionize the continent’s healthtech sector while further attracting investors’ attention.

African health innovators have shown increasing capacity to leverage technology to optimize supply chains and advance access to medicines.

SBC is an experienced African-based and lead multi-corporate-backed tech accelerator that specializes in unlocking and growing pan-African tech opportunities by enabling platforms to provide mentorship and skills training for startups to ensure they can scale.

Startupbootcamp AfriTech will ensure that the Investing in Innovation Program supports startups across Africa including entrepreneurs in the healthtech space as well as companies specializing in healthtech and the   supply chain in Africa.

In addition, the program involves the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Union Development Agency, the World Health Organization AFRO and two major players in the pharmaceutical industry namely the Merck Group and AmerisourceBergen.

The innovator support program comes at a time when African healthtech has recorded impressive growth in an effort to serve majority of Africans who rely on under-funded public health facilities as well as the small minority who have access to well-funded, quality private health care.

The digital health solutions seek to address challenges facing national and regional health systems which suffer from serious inefficiencies and are widely inaccessible especially highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Subsequently, traditional healthcare providers across Africa are adopting new tech products such as virtual healthcare platforms, telemedicine, drones, big data analytics, wearables and information management to improve overall health outcomes.

Healthtech innovations are on the rise in Africa as the continent is served by only 2% of the world’s healthcare professionals while entrepreneurs are constantly finding solutions that are aligned with Sustainable Development Goals to empower the lives of Africans.

The Investing in Innovation Program for African healthtech firms is a perfect fit for scaling of innovative digital solutions that better the lives of ordinary people as well as creating opportunities to improve the quality, reach and efficiency of health.

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