Innovate For Life Announces Finalists For 2020

Innovate for Life in partnership with The Elsevier Foundation, Mettā Nairobi and Accenture Development Partnerships announced the finalists for Innovate for Life 2020 Cohort program.

For this edition, the program will be run in Kenya and Ethiopia with a cohort of 4 entrepreneurs (2 from each country). The finalists will for the next 6 months receive training and mentorship to bring to scale their unique healthcare solutions.

Innovate for Life is an initiative of Amref Health Africa’s Institute of Capacity Development (ICD) in conjunction with the Elsevier Foundation, Mettā Nairobi and Accenture Development Partnerships that aims to support health innovations.

The Program is centered on developing shared value partnerships between Amref Health Africa country offices and health innovators to support health innovations from across the region to address underlying health challenges.

Maurice Otieno, General Manager of Mettā Nairobi, “We remain resilient in supporting and enabling a conducive environment for startups to thrive & are honored to be part of Innovate for Life that is up-skilling health innovators for a better tomorrow.”

The finalists include:

Shayashone PLC
Shayashone (SYS) is a private limited company engaged in agricultural commercialization and supply chain development for social impact products, agribusiness advisory, and consultancy and import of industrial raw materials and manufacturing.

SYS was established in 2010 and has implemented over 50 investment and development projects from donors in the USA, Canada, Netherlands, and Germany. Some of their partners are Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), USAID, Canadian IDRC, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (, Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands in Addis Ababa, Purdue University, Wageningen University, Maastricht School of Management and University of Saskatchewan. The company was established by Mr. Yared Sertse.

Strategies for Northern Development
Strategies for Northern Development (SND) provides an integrated maternal and child mobile health care service for pastoralist women who are unable to access pre/postnatal services, by utilizing an improvised, culturally and socially acceptable Global Positioning System (GPS) ornamental pieces in form of bracelets.

The GPS technology enables health care workers to pinpoint and track pastoralist mothers and provide them with critical services, which help reduce maternal mortality, improve infant survival and ANC uptake, and enhance health-seeking behavior change.

SND has a wealth of experience in implementing several health projects particularly, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis among vulnerable pastoralist communities under the leadership of its founder, Dahabo Adi Galgallo. With maternal and infant mortality being aggravated by limited access to both pre and post-natal services, SND endeavors to bring these services closer to the pastoralist community through technology.

Rohobot Nursing Service
Established in 2017, Rohobot is a home-based health care service that strives to create a suitable environment for chronic and elderly people in Ethiopia and Africa. The company provides home-based health care services to elderly people living with chronic illnesses, to help them attain the highest level of independence by offering them support and their families.

They administer medications as per the physician’s instructions, perform personal care, monitor vital signs, provide advice on nutrition, collect the sample for diagnosis, offer terminal and nursing care among other services.

Over the last three years, RNS has provided services to over 85 households and serves an average of 25 families per day through support from over 50 staff members. Rohobot’s Founder/General Manager, Nebiyat Demeke Fiseha received the title of Laureate of Women in Africa 2019 in recognition of the accomplishments of Rohobot Home-Based Health Care Service.

The Grace Cup
The Grace Cup promotes and sells reusable menstrual cups and cloth pads since 2017. The company has so far worked with over 2,000 girls and boys across Kenya training them on menstrual hygiene.

The Grace Cup partners with NGOs, county governments, corporates and individuals to supply cups and pads, and have worked with Finn Church Aid and UNHCR in Kakuma, Kakamega County Government, Mugie Conservancy in Laikipia, just to mention a few. The Grace Cup was founded by Ebby Weyime, a Menstrual Hygiene Management Trainer certified by the Ministry of Health.

Innovate For Life Fund 2018 Cohort

Innovative Six

For the second year around, the Innovate for Life Fund is working with the most innovative healthcare entrepreneurs in Sub Sahara Africa. The five month accelerator program successfully completed two intensive weeks, The first in September and the second one was held very recently, November 5 – 9, 2018. Both hosted at Amref International University.

This year’s cohort consist of six entrepreneurs. They were carefully selected out of over 300 applications coming from all over sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s innovative six are:

  • Seun Sangoleye, founder of Baby Grubz. A social enterprise that manufactures and distributes baby food in Nigeria, and other West African countries.
  • Virtue Oboro, founder of Tiny Hearts Technology. A medical manufacturing company that produces the “Crib A glow” Phototherapy Unit. A device used for the treatment of neonatal jaundice in newborn babies.
  • Paul Mugambi from Kenya of Baobab Circle. He is part of the team that has developed Africa’s first, low cost diabetes and hypertension mobile app.
  • Jinit Shah, the man behind Ujuzi Fursa Africa. The venture is a workforce development center offering training on caregiving. It also deploys, employs and outsources certified caregivers to hospitals, retirement homes, and individual homes who require dedicated elderly care.
  • Joel Mukasa, founder of Joelex. The enterprise makes water and sanitation accessible and affordable for the urban poor in Uganda by building and operating toilets and showers. They safely dispose the collected waste by turning it into cleaner-burning charcoal briquettes used as cooking energy within slums and markets.
  • And finally Stuart Nyakatswau from Zimbabwe, founder of Wastinnova. The company aims to decrease biohazard waste disposal from health-care and research centers and medical laboratories. They increase recycling through environmentally sustainable methods.

The accelerator teamed up with partners Grassroots Business Fund to provide mentorship and guidance to the entrepreneurs. This year the entrepreneurs had insightful and motivating visits to MOH, Ruiru IV Hospital, GSK, Virtual City, and Oracle. The team also got to tour some of the Amref facilities

both at the University and at the country offices. They furthermore interacted with the relevant staff/departments in which they were able to get further insight and mentorship into scaling up their innovative solutions and also explore possible avenues of collaboration between the entrepreneurs and Amref Programmes.

Similarly through the visits and workshop sessions connections were made to entice possible future partnerships. While officially launching this year’s accelerator programmer Amref GCEO, Dr. Githinji, gave an inspiring talk on why we need innovation and how the entrepreneurs can benefit from Amref. He said he’s looking for the three R’s: the solutions need to be Real, Relevant, and also needs to Resonate. The various workshop sessions touched on appropriate and focused pitching, engaging stakeholders and investors, strategic planning, locating opportunities and fundraising.

Other Media Articles

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Two of the Six entrepreneurs from the Innovate For Life Fund 2018 Cohort are from Nigeria.

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