• Competitions
  • Healthcare innovations claim top spots at this year’s Innovation Prize for Africa

    The sixth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) culminated with the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) awarding three African innovators for their innovations that tackle unique African challenges. Over 2,500 applications were submitted. Only ten nominees were selected.

    From these, Egypt’s Aly El-Shafei, a Professor of Vibration Engineering at Cairo University was the US$100,00 Grand Prize winner. Ugandan Philippa Ngaju Makobore, an electric engineer won the second prize of US$25,000, and Dougbeh-Chris Nyan of Liberia, a research scientist won the US$25,000 Special Prize for Social Impact, says an article in BIZTECH Africa. Two of the three African innovation wines focused on healthcare.  

    Inadequate medical solutions to administer drugs efficiently or diagnose diseases adversely affect healthcare quality in many parts of Africa. Makobore’s invention, Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF) and Dr Nyan’s multiple disease rapid detection test both offer solutions that can improve Africa’s healthcare quality.

    AIF collaborated with the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Ghana@60 Planning Committee to host IPA 2017. The theme was African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity.

    AIF Founder, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais was enthusiastic about the event. He said “AIF has rewarded IPA 2017 for developing solutions that can truly add value to the lives of Africans, and I believe that these innovations have incredible commercial potential and will succeed in attracting the right investments to go to the next stage.”

    Makabore’s ECFG’s  designed to administer Intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs accurately by controlling the rate of fluid flow using feedback from a drop sensor. IV infusions are critical for administering the right flows and volumes that patients need. Over 10% of children admitted to East African hospitals need immediate infusion therapy. Findings from the Fluid Expansion As Supportive Therapy FEAST trial indicate that over-infusion in children increases the risk of death by 3.3% at 48 hours. By increasing accuracy and safety, ECGF can save lives.

    Dr. Dougbeh developed a test to detect and simultaneously differentiate seven infections.  with similar symptoms, such as yellow fever, malaria, and Ebola. Most common testing methods take between three to seven days. His device provides results in ten to 40 minutes. He’s currently working on the second prototype. It’s a valuable step up  in detecting and managing infectious diseases.

    IPA has seen a large growth in applications and increasing interest from innovators and enablers. It’s attracted more than 7,500 innovators from 52 African countries. Hopefully next year’s winners will incorporate eHealth and mHealth in their innovations. 

  • eHealth start-up EMGuidance wins SA’s Seedstars

    Talent competitions are always good motivators for contestants, especially those who top the list. The winners of the South African stage of the Seedstars World competition, EMGuidance, an eHealth start-up’ll be highly focused on the next round. The team’ll be competing for a US$500,000 funding stream at the global final in Switzerland.

     An article in Disrupt Africa EMGuidance was chosen from ten finalists from its early-stage start-ups competition. Its largely about solving a fundamental problem for the medical profession: how to aggregate medical content from regional experts into one place. Its app does it by allowing for fast access to diverse but reliable data. 

    Zlto, a digital rewards platform incentivising its users for positive behaviour, was runner-up. It uses a mobile wallet to access a marketplace. Empty Trips came third, with an online trip exchange using algorithms and transport auctions to fill empty spaces to places.

    Fanny Dauchez, associate for Seedstars World Africa, told Disrupt Africa that “We had a pleasure of meeting talented entrepreneurs from different cities and backgrounds in South Africa, and seeing them do such an amazing job representing themselves and their start-ups on this big South Africa finals stage.”  Hopefully, it won’t be too long before EMGuidance’s and the other competitors solutions are used across all Africa.

  • Applications open for Start-Up Challenge Digital Africa

    African and French start-up companies working on four sectors, fintech, health, environment and energy and agricultural digital innovations, have until 15 November 2016 to enter the Start-Up Challenge Digital Africa competition. An article in BIZTECH Africa says Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Bpifrance launched the competition to encourage and promote the development of digital start-.

    A jury will choose two winners, one African and one French, in each of the four sectors, so there’ll be a total of eight winners. Two start-ups, one African and one French, will be selected by online voters, making ten successful applicants awarded and invited to the 27th Africa-France Summit in Bamako, Mali’s capital, on 13 and 14 January 2017 to present their project and meet partners.

    AFD and Bpifrance Director General, Rémy Rioux, says "Digital technology may be an incredible accelerator of sustainable development in Africa, on condition that each entrepreneur is able to benefit from the innovation springboard.”

    Start-ups generally need all the help they can muster to launch their innovative ideas. The competition’s is a valuable opportunity for health and eHealth start-ups to find support and critical inputs to grow their business. Start-ups can go to an online application to enter. 

  • Healthcare solution wins #Hack.Jozi

    The winners of the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge will scale their businesses to create jobs and address real issues they identified in healthcare, education and local government administration. It’ll be held in Johannesburg. The top three contestants, selected from over 400 entries, created original eHealth solutions to tackle obstacles faced by people with chronic conditions, help students who need academic support, and boost efficiency in building plan applications to promote property development. The contestants endured a rigorous boot camp, mentorship and development process that began at the end of March 2016, an initiative of Johannesburg’s Economic Development Department and Wits University through its Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering, says an article in IT-Online.

    The R1m first prize was awarded to Neo Hutiri, founder of Technovera, a technology-enabled service that allows people with chronic conditions to collect their repeat medication in just a few minutes as opposed to waiting several hours in long queues. Hutiri drew inspiration for his solution from his own experience. “I used to be a patient collecting treatment from a public clinic. It’s really an unpleasant experience to wait the whole day just to manage your condition. Technovera is a technology solution that improves patient care by ending the indignity and exhaustion of long queues,” he said.

    Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development in the City of Johannesburg, Ruby Mathang, says that digital technologies are powering the development of cities across the world. “The #HackJozi Challenge is aimed at driving our smart city agenda while catalysing innovation and development. This year’s winners show how involving citizens in identifying technology solutions to everyday problems is a powerful way improve the efficiency of services, meet residents’ needs and help improve quality of life in Jo’burg.” 

    The winning ideas of the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge are scalable and driven by highly motivated and capable young entrepreneurs. Further development of their ideas could help people in Johannesburg, creating more jobs and economic opportunities as they grow.

  • Entries open for MTN Business SA app of the Year

    Submissions for the MTN Business SA App of the Year Awards 2016, one of the biggest and most prestigious of its type in South Africa, are now open. The competition’s a springboard for creative developers and their original solutions. Previous winners have gone on to launch their apps internationally, been acquired by blue chip corporates, or become well-known and loved South African digital products in their own right, says an article in IT NEWS AFRICA.

    Vula Mobile, is one example. It started as a small start-up focusing on medical referrals between health workers and ophthalmology specialists, making it easier to refer patients from remote communities.

    Vula isn’t just about eye care anymore. It now extends across a wide range of other specialties of: 

    Cardiology Orthopaedics  Burns. 

    The Vula team’s also planning to add more specialties including:

    Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Dermatology HIV Paediatric surgery Oncology

    Participants benefit from the rigorous judging process that includesconstructive input from industry experts that in turn helps them to refine their pitch and product. They also receive extensive media coverage from the event and a networking opportunity, taking home valuable prizes.

    Entries can be for one or more categories and subcategories:

    Best Enterprise

    Media and communications Ecommerce Business solutions and sales Utilities Navigation, the and geo location apps.

    Best Consumer

    Finance and banking Entertainment and gaming, including children’s apps Media and communications, including community and social activities Lifestyle, including health and fitness, and personal education Productivity, including utilities Creative apps including photo and video Best Enterprise Development App, drawn from the MTN Foundation app development programme alumni Best Breakthrough Developer Most Innovative App.

    Descriptions of the categories, entry fees, and the entry form are all available at www.appoftheyear.co.za. Deadline for entries is Thursday 2 June, 2016. The MTN Business App of the Year Awards ceremony is at Sandton Convention Centre on 4 August, 2016.

  • Seedstars startup competition comes to SA

    Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, is returning to South-Africa to find the best startups from across the country. In partnership with Standard Bank, Seedstars World will host pre-selection events in Cape Town, Durban and Soweto, and invite up to ten of the best seed stage startups to the grand finale in Johannesburg to pitch for the opportunity to compete at the annual Seedstars Summit in Switzerland, says an article in IT-Online.

    Seedstars World’s travelling to 65 countries this year to identify the best seed stage entrepreneurs and provide them with an opportunity to win up to $1m and network with investors and mentors from around the world. Its previous participants raised over $61m collectively, providing employment to more than 400 employees worldwide.

    Applications are open now on www.seedstarsworld.com for the pre-selection events in Cape Town on May 27, Durban on June 8, and Soweto on June 14. Companies applying need to be less than two years old, have raised less than $500,000 in funding and have built a viable product, ideally with existing traction. 

    This is a fantastic opportunity for any entrepreneur or startup including those in the healthcare space. mHealth and eHealth innovators that meet the selection criteria should apply, and quickly. It’s on soon.

  • HearScreen wins Innovation Fellows Competition

    The hearscreen mHealth solution has been named the first winner of Philip’s South Africa’s Innovation Fellows Competition says an article in Africa Healthcare IT News. The competition was launched in August this year in collaboration with the Innovation Hub in Pretoria, with the goal of unlocking local talent and addressing regionally relevant challenges in healthcare.

    hearScreen makes widespread systematic hearing testing possible by providing a cost-effective, sustainable smartphone application that provides clinically valid tests and can be operated by community healthcare workers along with cloud-based data management and referral systems linking patients to services. 

    "We are extremely honoured that Philips has recognised our hearScreen mHealth solution as an innovation that can help many people live more fulfilling lives,” says De Wet Swanepoel, inaugural Innovation Fellows Competition winner and professor in the department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria. 

    hearScreen will receive R 200 000.00 as a research and development grant towards the improvement and production of the technology. Swanepoel will also undergo a one year fellowship during which Philips will assist him by offering business advice on how to launch, market, and sell his product.

    The other 2015 Innovation Fellows finalists included:

    IMobiMama, an IT platform and Mobile Kiosk from Carol Thomas that can increase access to maternal care. A low-cost portable mechanical non-invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator from Sudesh Sivarasu that is mechanically operated and can be used to tackle Asthma in children aged five to 10 years old. Ragesh Pillai, whose aim was to tackle the challenge of improving diabetes management through a software service designed to facilitate remote monitoring and communication between patients and their care givers at low cost. Dean Hodgskiss’s solution aimed to increase the capacity of healthcare workers and medical equipment at primary healthcare sites through the utilisation of a mobile communication app specifically developed to operate effectively under the challenging African telecommunications conditions.
  • VoLo wins Seedstars World event in Senegal

    eHealth startup VoLo has been named the winner of the Senegalese round of the Seedstars World early-stage startups competition, and will now go on to represent the country at the global final says an article in Startup 365. Ten startups have been named that will pitch at the final African event of the year in Gaborone, Botswana, on Friday, November 27.

    The event will take place at the Microsoft Innovation Centre, located within the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), with the startups to pitch to a panel of judges. A winner will be selected to represent their country at the final event in Geneva, Switzerland in February next year. 

    VoLo Africa is a privately owned African company that seeks to improve financial inclusion and increase access to health care through the establishment of VoLo’s Trust Information Platform (V-TIP). VoLo’s unique systems and processes bind biographical, biometric, and sector relevant data into a multi-platform and scalable database that analyzes information thereby providing transparent risk assessments to their clients. VoLo believes the key to broader health care coverage is the private sector and therefore V-TIP has been designed to meet the needs of health care providers and health insurance providers.

  • South African Innovation Fellows Competition announces finalists

    Earlier this year, Philips partnered with The Innovation Hub in Pretoria to launch the first Innovation Fellows Competition in South Africa with the aim of uncovering and supporting the next big innovative ideas that will help revolutionise the South Africa health industry, while also addressing relevant healthcare challenges. The top five finalists of the competition have been selected from a list of 61 local entries.

    Philips is unearthing exciting talent, whose innovations will serve as local solutions to South Africa’s healthcare challenges. These include:

    Carol Thomas’ iMobiMama IT platform and Mobile Kiosk that hopes to increase access to maternal care Sudesh Sivarasu proposes to develop a low-cost portable, mechanic, non-invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator to tackle asthma in children aged five to 10 years old. Ragesh Pillai is looking to improve diabetes management by using an mHealth solutions with a small kit designed to facilitate remote monitoring and communication between patients and their caregivers at a low cost. Dean Hodgskiss’s mHealth solution aims to increase the capacity of healthcare workers. The app which runs on Android, iOS and Windows, will provide caregivers in remote areas the ability to connect to any healthcare worker using the app regardless to where they are located in the world. De Wet Swanepoel wants to provide access to early identification of hearing loss, using the low-cost hear Screen mHealth solution, which will result in more timely intervention for optimal developmental in children.

    Who’ll be the winner? eHNA’ll be waiting for the outcome.

  • Innovation Fellows Competition closes in two days

    Philips Africa has partnered with the Innovation Hub in Pretoria to launch the first South African Innovation Fellows Competition tasked with helping to unlock technological innovations produced locally. “We believe that everyone has the potential to change the way we live for the better,” says JJ van Dongen, senior vice-president and CEO of Philips Africa in the Innovation competition article. “There are many budding entrepreneurs out there armed with what may turn out to be the next big idea that will go on to make a real difference to the current challenges experienced within the local healthcare sector.”

    The South African Innovation Fellows competition aims to unlock local talent and address regionally relevant challenges in healthcare. Innovators stand a chance of winning R200 000 as a research & development budget for their next big idea in improving access to primary healthcare. Van Dongen believes innovation is a catalyst for economic development and will be one of the key factors that play a leading role in boosting the competitiveness of South Africa’s economy.

    Meaningful innovation ideas need to address one of the following themes to be considered.

    ICT solutions to improve access to healthcare Solutions to improve care delivery Healthcare imaging for low resource settings utilizing smartphones Diagnostic tools for low resource settings Innovations for healthy living for mother and child.

    Interested participants can register here and submit their #nextbigidea in word or PDF format covering the following topics:

    The challenge being addressed The technology solution The social impact expected.

    Philips and the Innovation Hub, Pretoria, will announce five finalists on Wednesday, 30 September 2015. Entries will be evaluated and judged by the Philips Innovation Fellowship Adjudication Steering Committee. If your idea is selected, you will be contacted directly to move on to the next phase of the competition.