Fund targets innovators offering affordable healthcare solutions

L-R: Sharon Olago, Founder at Lishe Bora, and Villgro's co-founders; Dr Robert Karanja and Wilfred Njagi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kenyans innovating in the affordable healthcare space have until the end of this month to apply for seed funding and have access to impact investors from the home-grown Villgro Africa incubator.

Positioned to offer support to emerging health businesses, the Nairobi-based hub has in the last seven years been working with startups in healthcare and life sciences including primary healthcare, mother and child health non-communicable diseases, nutrition in agriculture, water and sanitation in environmental management, or safety ergonomics in the design of tools and products.

"We provide high-touch mentorship and connect incubatees with mentors, investors, C-level talent and advisory boards who bring with them years of experience and connections in both the healthcare industry and entrepreneurship," said the incubator on its website.

The health and science incubator seeks to offer emerging companies a customised incubation experience to help effectively navigate the African startup ecosystem and scale ideas. "Our goal is to help innovators develop and scale up sustainable health and science solutions that improve the quality of life for people across Africa," added the incubator.

Boasting more than 10 million lives impacted, the incubator has so far been able to disburse more than Sh200 million in seed funding and attracted over Sh2 billion in follow-on funding.

Known then as Villgro Kenya, the company was set up in 2015 to serve a nascent health innovation ecosystem in Kenya and the East Africa region.

In 2020, the firm formally rebranded to "Villgro Africa" where beyond Kenya, it now supports incubation companies in four countries through partnerships in Tanzania, Zambia and Ghana.