The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) in partnership with Villgro Africa have launched a program call for healthcare innovators. The program aims to improve optimal health outcomes and make healthcare more affordable for Kenyans.
KeNIA will be responsible for creating and managing the National Innovation System. The Agency is thus in charge of the National Innovation Ecosystem’s coordination, promotion, and regulation. Villgro Africa helps entrepreneurs turn product and process innovations into viable, scalable businesses that benefit the bottom of the economic pyramid (BoP).
The two companies will also participate in a boot camp that includes business training to support commercially viable products and services in the Kenya Healthcare Innovation Program. They will also be prepared to pitch to potential investors as a result of the training. The top three finalists will receive financial awards including incubation support, during the Kenya Innovation Week (KIW) pitch fest in December 2021.
Villgro Africa will award a total of Ksh. 1.1 million ($10,000). Other contributing factors like start-up resource providers, memberships in co-working spaces and web development will contribute to the awards.
According to Wambui Nyabero, Chief Technology Officer at Villgro Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted Kenyan innovation in the healthcare space. Multiple ventilators have so far been developed, PPE manufacturing has increased, and emergency response services have been operationalized.
In addition to KeNIA and Villgro, two additional companies, ICChange and Kijenzi will also participate in the program. ICChange is a global network of collaborative social enterprises.
In Kenya, their work focuses on the medical and urban entrepreneurial ecosystems. Kijenzi is a digital manufacturer with a network of hubs supplying replacement parts, medical devices, and occupational therapy tools. The company digitizes the supply chain and manufactures everything in-house, allowing it to better serve customers by reducing wait times and costs.