BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ

The pandemic has shown us that there’s a major gap in the African health tech sector. We’ve seen some innovations that were designed to address challenges however these were not enough. Now there’s a huge appetite to close the health tech sector gap.

Traditional healthcare providers adopted new tech products such as virtual healthcare platforms, telemedicine, drones, big data analytics, wearables, and information management to improve overall health outcomes. More than 40 health-tech start-ups on the continent received series A funding in 2020 alone.

There are now plans to support more of these startups.

Almost a year ago, the Moroccan consulting firm Southbridge A&I and its Canadian partner Salient Advisory published a joint report on the financing challenges of healthcare delivery companies in Africa. They proposed two continental mechanisms to better direct international funding to African startups and to provide pooled working capital solutions in Africa. Recently, Southbridge A&I, Salient Advisory and SCIDaR launched the Investing in Innovation (i3) Program, implementing the first recommendation of this report, which will be headed by Startupbootcamp AfriTech (SBC), as the South African Implementation Partner.

The i3 program is a $7 million pan-African program designed to support 30 companies per year over two years, specialising in HealthTech and the supply chain in Africa. I3 aims to identify early-stage or growth-stage innovators across the continent that can make a tangible impact on public health, whether in terms of availability, accessibility, quality or transparency of health supply chains. These companies, selected by four leading accelerators across the continent, will be eligible for a systematic grant of $50,000 as well as a market access program through events organized across the continent.

This ambitious programme is sponsored by partners who will be heavily involved throughout the programme. These include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Union Development Agency, the World Health Organization AFRO, and two major players in the pharmaceutical industry: the Merck Group and AmerisourceBergen.

Applications for the first cohort of 30 companies are now open and will close on August 14. With the program officially launching on September 19, 2022, start-ups working in health product distribution across Africa are invited to apply at https://bit.ly/3bUPgBN.

Another interesting health tech intervention is led by Regent and Siemens Healthineers. They are bringing the Innovative Think Tank (ITT) Certification Programme to offer South African participants the opportunity to develop innovations to challenges in the healthcare system.

To stimulate novel healthcare solutions in the country, Regent has partnered with Siemens Healthineers to bring its global Innovative Think Tank (ITT) Certification Programme to offer South African participants the opportunity to develop innovations to challenges in our healthcare system. The programme is looking for applicants from healthcare, IT, engineering and business who will work in muliti-disciplinary groups to develop innovative processes and products that will make a valuable impact on healthcare in the country. Programme participants will retain the intellectual property of their innovations.

The ITT Certification programme will be conducted for seven days over two weeks, from 5-13 September and will cover ITT methodology, identifying healthcare challenges,trends and development of solutions. To apply, go to: https://regent.ac.za/itt-programs/ or email [email protected]