Disrupt Africa: 3 African startups win Innovate for Life challenge

 

Three African startups have walked away with KES30,000 (US$2,900) in seed funding each after being named winners of the Innovate for Life hackathon in Nairobi, which was looking for solutions to curb maternal mortality and infant loss in Africa.

The Innovate For Life campaign was run by AMREF Health Africa in collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Nailab, and called for entrepreneurs, midwives and doctors to come together to discuss the preventable causes of high mortality rates and develop solutions that could be rolled out under the leadership of AMREF Health Africa.

A total of 117 applications were submitted for the programme, which were vetted and narrowed down to 15 innovations whose founders attended a two-day hackathon at the AMREF Health Africa headquarters in Nairobi.

The hackathon produced three winning innovations: Kenya’s Chanjo Plus, Uganda’s Wekebere and Nigeria’s HelpMum. Chanjo Plus offers digital vaccination management, Wekebere is a handheld self diagnostic device, and HelpMum provides pregnant women with antenatal care date and immunisation date reminders.

All three startups were invited to present their solutions at the Africa Health Agenda International Conference, and will now go through an acceleration programme in their respective countries. This will see them paired with expert mentors, receive training and coaching, and access seed capital of KES300,000 (US$2,900).

Two other startups, Pregmum and Afya, were selected for acceleration by Nailab. The startups will over the next three months work alongside Nailab as they prepare to roll out their solutions to market.

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