African start-ups 
are developing novel solutions to bring high-quality health products closer to where patients are, at affordable prices

Investing in Innovation (i3) is a pan-African initiative to support the commercialization and impact 60 promising early & growth-stage companies with grants & access to markets support.
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African Health innovators have shown capacity to leverage technology to optimize supply chains and solve critical challenges of availability, accessibility, quality, affordability and visibility of health products in Africa.

i3 is supporting companies who offer data-driven distribution of medicines, consumables, medical devices, assistive technologies, and medical waste in African health care systems.
i3 is sponsored by a global network of industry leaders, donors and African institutions who 1) facilitate the systematic deployment of grants to selected startups, and 2) help establish access to market mechanisms to connect selected startups to customers who can drive their impact at scale. i3 seeks high-potential startups who can help transform the availability, accessibility, affordability, quality and visibility of health products at scale – creating health impact and prosperity.

i3 seeks to advance access for startups traditionally excluded from funding and support, including women-led companies and founders in Francophone Africa.
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Meet us at an event near you

Each year, we host a number of events around the continent. The best way to meet and get to know us, is by joining one of the many events we have coming up.

Testing a new approach to enhancing health product distribution innovation in Africa

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A unique network of 
Sponsors collaborate 
to support companies
in the cohort

A unique coalition of donors, to provide risk-tolerant grant financing; major industry players, to provide market access and partnerships that enable scale, and African institutions, to provide development support in understanding and engaging with policy, regulation, and governmental institutions
I3 is operationalized by:
We are pleased to operationalize this program with leading operational partners across North, West, East and Southern Africa.
I3 is coordinated by:
  • African health innovators have shown increasing capacity to leverage technology to optimize supply chains and advance access to medicines. Such local innovations have the potential to change how supply chains and health systems function – and it is time to support them. We are pleased to be collaborating with strong global and continental partners to jointly strengthen African health systems, and accelerate progress towards universal health coverage.
    Cheikh Oumar Seydi, Director, Africa, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • There has been considerable progress in tech-driven innovation in health product distribution across Africa. Spurring and scaling disruptive innovation in health supply chain is key to expanding access to medicines for all. That’s why we, at MSD, are excited to collaborate on the I3 program.
    Dr Sheriff Abdullahi, AVP, Global Market Access, Sustainable Access Solutions, MSD.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the capacity of African innovators to leverage tech-enabled solutions to transform medicine distribution. AUDA-NEPAD will continue to leverage its mandate and comparative advantage to foster partnerships that strengthen evidence, deploy innovation, enhance policy environments and facilitate critical investments, while creating valuable and high-impact jobs across the continent.
    Dr Janet Byaruhanga, Senior Program Officer – Health, AUDA NEPAD.
  • Africa is often seen through the lens of problems, struggles, and poverty. But embedded in much of the continent’s struggles is immense opportunity. By identifying and supporting market-creating innovations in Africa, the I3 program seeks to unlock tremendous value in healthcare supply chains across the continent.
    Efosa Ojomo, Global Prosperity Lead, Clayton Christensen Institute; 
    Co-author, The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty.
  • Healthcare supply chain innovators offer an unprecedented potential to overcome the hurdles of affordability, availability, and greater convenience for patients in Africa. At a time when global supply chains are so much in focus, and the use of data and digital technology is creating new business models to serve historically underserved markets, innovators in healthcare supply chains need to be the vanguard, not followers.
    Prashant Yadav, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development and Affiliate Professor, INSEAD.
Asked Questions
Who can apply for i3?

I3 applicants must be:

  • Early-stage and Growth-stage tech-enabled businesses owned or operated by African Nationals, and with a legal presence on the continent.
  • Businesses focused on tech-enabled product distribution with validated proof of concept, recorded revenues and demonstrable potential for growth.
  • Demonstrable potential for social and societal impact.
What is the deadline for Applications?
  • Deadline for application for the 2022 cohort is August 14th 2022, for innovators from West, East, North and Francophone Africa. Deadline for application for the South African innovators is August 21st 2022.
Can I make more than one application?
  • Yes, you can make more than one application provided they are for separate businesses or ventures, if you are involved in both.
  • Please do not submit more than one application for the same business.
Can I apply for ideas / planned businesses?
  • No, the i3 program only accepts businesses with products/services, and customers.
  • The more evidence you can provide to demonstrate the impact of your products or services, the better your chances of being selected as part of the cohort.
What will it cost me to apply for i3?
  • There is no fee required to apply for the i3 Program. All you need to do is complete the application form, enclose the relevant supporting documents, and answer any questions we may ask during or after submission.
  • If you are shortlisted, you will need to set out time to participate in our due diligence process prior to final selection.
Who can see the information I submit during application?
  • All information submitted may be seen by the i3 program team which includes judges and assessors. All members of the program team are bound by confidentiality agreements.
  • We will retain application materials of applicants (including applicants who are not selected) for up to two years.
Can I apply again if not selected?
  • Yes, applicants who are not selected may apply to join later cohorts provided they meet the eligibility requirements at the time.
What publicity will there be about my application?
  • Your application will be strictly confidential, shared only with members of the i3 team and under confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with selection committees.
  • If you are shortlisted or selected for the program, we ask you to not publicize this fact until a date set by our communications team. Once companies have been admitted to the program, i3 may publicize your involvement through communications channels including but not limited to the program’s website, websites of program partners, social media platforms of program partners as well as other public communications channels.

Testing a new approach to enhancing health product distribution innovation in Africa

Join the program