Investing in Innovation Africa (i3) is a pan-African initiative for start-ups building the future of healthcare supply chains. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and sponsored by AmerisourceBergen, Merck Sharpe & Dohme (MSD), Microsoft and Chemonics, i3 is supporting the commercialization of 60 promising early- and growth-stage companies. The program connects African-led supply chain innovators to donors, industry, and government partners, to power start-ups’ growth and impact.
I3 aims to bring affordable, high-quality health products closer to where patients are, through channels patients want to use by solving supply chain problems such as:
- Health Product Availability.
- Accessibility of Health Products.
- Health Product Quality.
- Health Product Affordability.
- Visibility of Health Product Movement.
- Waste Management in Health Supply Chains.
Access to Markets: I3’s matchmaking program and flagship event connect innovators to leading local and international industry players, financial institutions, donors, and governments to establish partnerships and pilot projects that fuel impact and scale.
Risk-Tolerant Funding: I3 provides systematic grants of $50,000 to all participating startups. This flexible funding is provided to address key business model needs and advance the startups’ charitable impacts.
Investment Readiness Support: i3 provides participating startups with tailored investment readiness support, delivered by leading innovation experts at CCHub, Startupbootcamp AfriTech, Villgro Africa and IMPACT Lab.
✔️Requirements for program participation
To be eligible to apply, startups must fulfill the following criteria :
- Representative of the business must be a founder / co-founder, and at least 18 years old with a valid ID document.
- Company must be owned, led, or operated by an African(s). We define this as having an African national with long-term control and management of the business, an equity stake, and an active role in both strategic and day-to-day decision making (to note: all three requirements listed must be fulfilled to qualify). Organization does not need to be headquartered in Africa.
- Business must have a legal presence on the African continent.
- Business offerings must be focused serving the needs of African customers.
- Business must be in the early or growth stage as defined below. Nascent/idea stage companies, or mature companies (e.g. mature incumbent distribution businesses) are not eligible.
- Early-stage – You must have clearly defined your market, validated customer demand, developed a working prototype and product map, and begun to generate revenue, with a strong plan to scale and sustain growth.
- Growth Stage – You must have strong, well-defined revenue model, sales, and operational capabilities. Your Products and service must be primed to scale, and customer acquisition costs must be declining. You must have evidence of customer acceptance of your products (reflected in sales volumes, beyond early adopters).
- Businesses must be technology-enabled and offer data-driven products or services focused on health product distribution. We will also consider non-health businesses with documented plans to offer data-driven products or services focused on health product distribution in the short-term (2-3 months).
- Businesses must be able to demonstrate that grant funding will generate direct improvements in one or more of the following areas: availability, accessibility, quality, affordability and visibility of critical health products.
- You must show good management and governance.
- Non-profit organizations, consulting firms, intermediaries and consortia are not eligible.
- The program has a special focus on supporting founders who are traditionally excluded, including women-led companies, and companies operating in Francophone Africa.
- Applications close – 26 June 2023
- Cohort announcement – 14 Septembre 2023