Africa Young Innovators for Health Award
The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award was created by IFPMA and Speak Up Africa to offer pioneering young health entrepreneurs across Africa financial and in-kind opportunities to bring their game-changing business ideas to life.
Africa has the youngest population and one of the highest entrepreneurship rates in the world, which adds up to a major opportunity to fuel innovation in healthcare. The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is IFPMA and Speak Up Africa’s response, an exciting flagship program for young entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector.
The first Award showcased the vital role innovation plays among young people in Africa in tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing healthcare workers on the continent.
By 2050, the African population up to 24 years old will have increased by almost 50%.
According to the African Development Bank, an impressive 22% of the continent’s population of working age are starting businesses. This is the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world.
The combination of a youthful population and a blossoming entrepreneurial spirit adds up to a powerful opportunity for positive, rapid economic and social change.
But, to enable this, a growing amount of investment in human capital is needed. This is where the Award comes in.
Its goal is to strengthen the young entrepreneurship system across Africa so that the region’s young demographic can fulfill its enormous potential to make change.
Locally, the Award aims to develop on the ground capacity for innovation.
The 2021 Award: Healthcare workers
Africa is home to just 3% of the world’s health workforce but the continent carries a quarter of the burden of global disease. The dramatic shortfall of financial and human resources across Africa puts an enormous strain on the system and healthcare workers.
In 2021, the Award focused on helping enable the entrepreneurial spirit and technological expertise of young Africans to bridge the gap between resources and need.
From cold storage solutions to diagnostic tools, 3D printing solutions, and training platforms for healthcare workers, the 2021 Africa Young Innovators for Health Award attracted an intriguing range of impressive, innovative homegrown health entries.
Award winners took home a total of USD 75,000 in financial support. They also benefited from a business mentorship program, media training, and technical support with intellectual property protection as well as exposure to a renowned network of global health leaders.
With a mission to support pioneering young health entrepreneurs across Africa to bring their innovations to life, the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award will continue to shine a spotlight on Africa’s dynamic healthcare innovation ecosystem and celebrate the transformational vigor of youth-led African innovation.
It is an honor to receive the first-ever Africa Young Innovators for Health Award. This is a true endorsement of our accomplishments and testament to our goal.
I continue to be impressed by the dedication, vision, and creativity of young people in the healthcare sector. The Award program is a testament to the potential but also the concrete solutions that already exist to some of the most challenging health issues not only in Africa but around the world.
As a female innovator, you find yourself learning alone along the way because the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field is competitive and male-dominated. I look forward to learning from a network of experts available through the incubator.
We want to advance young women, and we want to promote local innovation because we know that the future of Africa lies both in the innovation and its youth.
The Women Innovators Incubator
Only one fifth of applications to take part in the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award came from women. Reacting to this, IFPMA and Speak Up Africa launched the Women Innovators Incubator program as part of the Award.
It aims to overcome the extra challenges women face when it comes to taking their business ideas from concept to reality.
Additionally, the Incubator addresses the significant imbalances between men and women in access to funding, training and skills development, professional networks, and overall participation in competitive environments.
Women taking part benefit from much-needed financial support, business mentorship, media training, expert advice on IP protection, and access to an influential network of supporters.
Every woman who applies to the Award competition is eligible to join the Women Innovators Incubator program.
Women’s Innovation Incubator awardees
Angella Kyomugisha is the co-founder and co-CEO of Kaaro Health, a social enterprise that aims to increase access to healthcare in Africa’s most remote areas.
Kaaro Health deploys telehealth-enabled container clinics staffed by a nurse and a lab technician from the local communities in villages that otherwise have no clinic within a 25-kilometre radius. As a result, more people have access to fundamental health needs, reducing the time and cost burdens of seeking care.Read more
Nuriat Nambogo is the founder and CEO of MobiCare, a mobile-based platform that bridges the gap between patients and medical professionals through appointment scheduling.
After losing her pregnancy because she was unable to consult a doctor in time and as a response to the long queues at most health facilities, Nuriat developed MobiCare. This allows patients to access and consult doctors they need at the right time in their preferred health facilities.Read more
Marie Chantal Umunyana
Marie Chantal Umunyana is a final year medical student and the founder of Umubyeyi, a digital health platform that delivers information directly from specialists to women on maternal and child health and parenting through web, mobile, and social media channels.
“Umubyeyi”, Kinyarwanda for “mother,” equips young mothers, pregnant women, and prospective parents with essential information that enables them to improve both their health and that of their children.Read more
Media partners: Africa.com, Télésud, and SciDev.Net
2023 Award Programme Applications
We will open the Awards program for new applications in 2023. If you would like to find out more about the next Award, or explore partnership opportunities, get in touch.