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.
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 2023 Award: UHC
Most African countries have Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a goal in their national health strategies. Yet, progress has been slow. Countries that achieve their UHC targets by 2030 will eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, strengthen resilience to public health emergencies, reduce financial hardship linked to illness, and fortify the foundations for long-term economic growth.
The theme of the second edition of the Awards is UHC, with a focus on innovations that are extending population or service coverage and ensuring better financial protection for their communities.
The Award offers four winners – two women and two men – financial support totaling 90, 000 USD to take their innovation to the next level, alongside a three-month business mentorship program with leading business figures and strategic guidance on intellectual property rights from one of Africa’s top law firms.
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.
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.
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 in the first edition. Reacting to this, IFPMA and Speak Up Africa launched the Women Innovators Incubator program as part of the 2021 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.
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 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
Discover the Awards program
From supporting healthcare workers to accelerating UHC, African youth are innovating to improve health outcomes on the continent – and beyond.