i3, a pan-African initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation, is giving 29 startups operating in Africa’s healthcare supply chain equity-free funding.
Now in its second year, the program is in partnership with Cencora (formerly AmerisourceBergen), Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Microsoft, and Chemonics.
Selected startups will receive a $50,000 grant and introductions to potential customers in industry, donor agencies, and governments.
In addition to the grant, selected startups will receive investment readiness support from organizations like CcHUB, Villgro Africa, IMPACT Lab, and Startupbootcamp Afritech.
38 per cent of these startups are led by women, and they represent 21 African countries.
In a statement on Monday, the Director, Global Health Agencies and Funds at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kieran Daly said, “As countries and global health institutions work to expand access to priority products, we face an urgent need to leverage solutions across the public and private sectors to improve health outcomes and strengthen local health systems.
“Programs like i3 help us understand, support, and engage with technology-driven solutions emerging across Africa, hand-in-hand with our partners,” he said.
The selected startups include Afia Group Limited, Aimcare Health, Bena Care, BioCertica, Chari Pharma, CheckUps Medical, Chefaa, Dawa Mkononi, Drugstore Nigeria, Famasi Limited, Field Intelligence, Inc, GICMED, Grinta, Healthtracka, Kapsule, Medical Diagnostech, Medpharma Alliance International Limited, Octosoft Technologies Limited, Pharmarun, Pharmaserv Health Project Nigeria Limited, Reductiona, SASA Health Limited, Tech Care For All Eastern Africa, Technovera – Pelebox Smart Lockers, Tibu Health, UltraTeb, Waspito, WellaHealth, and Welo.
The Director, of Global Market Access, Sustainable Access Solutions at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Yusuf Rasool noted, “We are excited to have a second cohort of 29 innovative changemakers in African healthcare enter the program.
“Investing in these companies is a means of delivering lifesaving solutions and empowering communities through the access of critical medicines across the continent.”
For the first cohort, 31 startups received support, reaching 24,000 healthcare facilities across 26 African countries.
i3 is not the only Gates Foundation-backed initiative focusing on healthcare in Africa. In August, 29 African researchers were selected to develop artificial intelligence applications for healthcare solutions on the continent.