Applications for the first cohort are closed

If you are an African entrepreneur creating a solution to a health product distribution challenge in Africa, we invite you to apply for the 2022 cohort. You stand the chance of receiving a $50,000 grant as well as access to leading donors, industry and institutional players who will support introductions to customers. Up to 30 companies will be selected this round.
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i3 POWERS COMPANIES WHO BRING AFFORDABLE, HIGH-QUALITY HEALTH PRODUCTS CLOSER TO WHERE PATIENTS ARE. WE'RE LOOKING FOR COMPANIES SOLVING SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES WITH DATA-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS THAT INCLUDE:
Health Product Availability
Accessibility of Health Products
Health Product Quality
Health Product Affordability
Visiblity of Health Product Movement
Waste Management in Health Supply Chains
Services that minimize supply chain inefficiencies and provide critical linkages between manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, providers, and consumers, to reduce stockouts and ensure the availability of essential medicines, consumables and devices are needed.
Solutions that help bring products closer to people, through lower-level providers, solutions to bring products closer to people in rural areas and/or create digital access are needed.
Innovations that enable providers and consumers to authenticate health products, track and trace the origin and movement of health products, and ensure the appropriate storage of health products to preserve their efficacy.
Solutions to reduce prices and price variability of medicines, consumables, devices, and assistive technologies are required.
Solutions that improve visibility into product movement, consumption and demand are important.
Technology-enabled innovations to improve safe disposal and appropriate management of medical waste are needed.

Health product availability

Frequent stock-outs of over-the-counter and prescription medicines, key consumables, and the limited availability of medical devices represent a major impediment to the management of disease and promotion of health.

Services that minimize supply chain inefficiencies and provide critical linkages between manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, providers, and consumers, to reduce stockouts and ensure the availability of essential medicines, consumables and devices are needed.

Accessibility of health products

Products must be brought as close to patients as is appropriate, to ensure easy access when the need arises:

  • Level of care: This means products should be available at the lowest possible level in the health system, with special attention being paid to primary care providers, pharmacies, and drug shops. With over-the-counter products, some consumables and assistive devices, products can be brought closer to people through generalized retail.
  • Geography: Special attention must be paid to ensuring access in rural areas, where patients may have to travel >1 hour to find required medicines, consumables, devices and more.
  • Digitally-enabled access: Today, products are being brought closer to people with the help of digitally-enabled channels such as telemedicine, e-pharmacy, e-commerce, agent-led delivery and more. However, digital channels are not always well-suited to serving under-resourced communities who may lack access to smart phones and need to use USSD, IVR or digitally-supported agent-led solutions.

Solutions that help bring products closer to people, through lower-level providers, solutions to bring products closer to people in rural areas and/or create digital access are needed.

Health Product Quality

There is a high prevalence of substandard, counterfeit, spurious and falsely labelled health products in African markets (42% of all counterfeit health products reported to the WHO between 2013 and 2017 were from Africa). This exposes the population to drug resistance, higher morbidity, and mortality rates, hence the need to develop innovations that enable providers and consumers to authenticate health products, track and trace the origin and movement of health products, and ensure the appropriate storage of health products to preserve their efficacy.

Health Product Affordability

Private sector health supply chain channels in Africa are often highly fragmented and multi-layered, with several points between manufacturing and dispensation. Due to multiple touchpoints between manufacturing and dispensation, additional costs can account for up to 60% of the final purchase price for consumers. In addition to high prices, there is often significant variability in the prices of health products across suppliers. Solutions to reduce prices and price variability of medicines, consumables, devices, and assistive technologies are required.

Visibility of health product movement

Health products supply chains in Africa are characterized by significant gaps in information and knowledge across various points in the supply chain, and between patients and providers. This makes it difficult for patients to make optimal decisions as it pertains to price and quality, and for other industry players and government to forecast demand and inform policy decisions. Solutions that improve visibility into product movement, consumption and demand are important.

Waste management in health supply chains

Appropriate management and disposal of health care waste is integral to maintain public health and preventing environmental as well as public health hazards. In Africa, proper healthcare waste management is largely an overlooked activity with regular disposal of medical and pharmaceutical waste into general waste and aquatic environments. Technology-enabled innovations to improve safe disposal and appropriate management of medical waste are needed.

ABOUT

Companies in the I3 cohort will benefit from 3 offerings over a 12 month period

01
Access
to Markets

I3 connects innovators to leading local and international industry players as well as to financing, donors, and governments – in an attempt to help companies establish partnerships, pilot projects, contracts and investment.
02
Risk-Tolerant
Finance

I3 provides systematic grants of $50,000 to all participating startups for investments in commercialization and impact.
03
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.
  • 01
    Access
    to Markets
    i3 connects innovators to leading local and international industry players as well as to financing, donors, and governments – in an attempt to help companies establish partnerships, pilot projects, contracts and investment.
  • 02
    Risk-Tolerant
    Finance
    i3 provides systematic grants of $50,000 to all participating startups for investments in commercialization and impact.
  • 03
    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
Key dates:
22nd June 2022
Applications Open
21st July 2022
Deadline for questions

14th August 2022
21st August 2022 (South Africa only)

Applications Close
5th September 2022
Complete Due Diligence
19th September 2022
Cohort announced
CRITERIA
To be eligible to apply, startups must fulfill the following criteria
01

Representative of the business must be a founder / co-founder, and at least 18 years old with a valid ID document.

02

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. Organization does not need to be headquartered in Africa.

03

Business must have a legal presence on the African continent.

04

Business offerings must be focused on serving the needs of African customers

05

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 be 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).

Learn more
06

Innovators must offer data-driven products or services focused on the distribution of health products, which includes over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines, health care consumables, medical devices, assistive health technologies, and the movement of medical waste. This includes but is not limited to companies that are building data-driven approaches to health product distribution including medicines, consumables, devices, and more; cold chain technology; track-and-trace; direct-to-consumer delivery of health products; online pharmacies; digital marketplaces for product resupply; vendor-managed inventory for health products; counterfeit drug detection; waste management solutions, and more. Business lines do not need to focus solely on health product distribution to be considered. 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).

07

Nonprofits, consultancies, intermediaries, and consortiums are not eligible.

08

You must show good management and governance. We are looking for efficient use of funds and a strong plan to generate further income and attract additional investments. Participants must have sustainability embedded within plans and practices.

* For more detail on our eligibility criteria, visit our FAQs below
Eligibility
criteria
Companies must fulfill all five criteria to be eligible to be reviewed.
Company serves Africans
Company is owned, led, operated by Africans
Company is in Early or Growth stage
Company is offering services in health product distribution or plans to offer services in the short term (2-3 months)
Company business model demonstrates improvements in one or more of the following public health impacts: quality, availability, affordability, accessibility, visibility of key health products in Africa
Selection
Scorecard
Companies will be scored by Selection Committee, and top 10 will be pre-selected. Cohort will be harmonized across geographies, and the final 30 companies will be approved by the Steering Committee.
Company is offering a very compelling service
Company is offering a unique product / service
Company has very high-potential leadership team
Size of target market is large
Potential for growth is high
Potential for impacts on product availability, quality, affordability, accessibility, visibility is high
Company is woman-led
Company was founded in and operating in Francophone Africa
SELECTION PROCESS

How are we going to select innovators?

01
02
03
  • Each region will have its own local selection committee (i.e. West Africa, East Africa, North Africa and Southern Africa) comprising internal and external members who are familiar with the region’s entrepreneurial and supply chain ecosystems. The North African implementing partner will evaluate applications from all of Francophone Africa.
  • Each regional selection committee will comprise representatives from the implementing (accelerator) partner for the region, investors, supply chain experts, health care industry experts (including from government or donor-funded agencies), and a member of the program coordination team. Some members will be from sponsor organizations.
  • To ensure equitable representation, each local selection committee will consist of a minimum representation of women (25% of the selection committee) and all committee members will be required to confirm the absence of existing conflicts of interest.
  • The selection process will be conducted across three levels:
    • All applicants will be screened based on the Eligibility Criteria. All who fulfill Eligibility Criteria will be sent to the local selection committees for their respective region.
    • Each local Selection Committee will meet to select the top seven to eight startups from their respective regions with three additional companies on the waiting list to be used for harmonization. The selection will be based on rankings against common and region-specific criteria. The best-scoring applicants will be retained.
    • Thirdly, the Steering Committee will review and harmonize the selected startups to retain a balanced cohort of 30. The harmonization process intends to confirm a balance of:
      1. Maturity levels: companies in both early- and growth-stages;
      2. Potential for gender transformation: ensure we’re selecting at least 10 women-led companies per year;
      3. Potential for health impact: ensuring companies in the cohort are able to generate strong evidence of impact on the affordability, accessibility, quality, affordability and / or visibility of essential health commodities; and ensuring that companies in the cohort are positioned to expand access to key products of interest to public health benefit.
  • Following selection by the Steering Committee, the program coordination team will conduct due diligence on each selected innovator to validate the legal status and charitability of each recommended organization to ensure they are eligible to receive grant funding.
  • Once each innovator has been verified, the cohort will be finalized and selected innovators informed.
How do I Apply?
Apply here

Applications must be made in English or French and submitted before the 14th of August, 2022. If you have concerns or challenges applying, please let us know via mail at aida.elkohen@innovationsinafrica.com
Can I submit questions?
Questions about the application process and program can be submitted to aida.elkohen@innovationsinafrica.com on or before by July 21st. Submitted questions and answers will be posted on the website for all potential applicants shortly thereafter.
Can I contact somebody
about my application?
If you would like to discuss whether your work is relevant to the i3 program or require any other clarification about the application process, please contact us on aida.elkohen@innovationsinafrica.com
Frequently 
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.
My company is not a health tech supply chain startup per se, but we address some of the supply chain issues faced on the continent. Are we eligible to the program?
  • If you believe your  products / services contribute to bringing quality health products closer to African users at an affordable price point, we suggest you apply to the program and put emphasis on synergies between i3 and your value proposition.

My company ownership structure is not African but the company is registered in the region and operated by team members from African countries. Are we eligible to the program?
  • Eligible organizations will be Africa-led, operated and owned. 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. The organization does not necessarily need to be headquartered in Africa. Non-profits, consultancies, intermediaries, and consortiums are not eligible.

Can you provide more detail on the due diligence process prior to final selection?
  • A due diligence questionnaire will be shared by August 29, 2022 with shortlisted companies to assess suitability for funding and to establish accountability and transparency. This is to be completed and submitted by September 2, 2022.

 

  • Key components of the questionnaire include:
  1. Company Registration or Incorporation Information: This contains incorporation/registration details, address, primary contact persons of the company and their contact details - Supporting documents: Certificate of incorporation; and Memorandum and Article of Association (MEMART) or its equivalent.
  2. Details of the management team: Details of senior executives on the management team of the company, their roles, contact details, email addresses and links to their LinkedIn profile.
  3. Financial management and accounting systems: brief descriptions of the company’s financial management and accounting systems, existing policies and controls in place for tracking financial transactions; and brief information on experience with managing donor funds.
  4. Ethical conduct/legal proceedings: Details on previous or existing legal cases including fraud, bribery and corruption as it relates to the company or members of its management team.
  5. Certification: Completed and signed statement validating the authenticity of all information in the due diligence form; Confirmation of no direct and/or indirect involvement in any form of fraud, bribery, corruption and financing of money laundering and terrorism.
Our project seeks to implement a tech-enable solution including an e-commerce platform and app. However, this is at an early/ideation stage, does it still qualify for the grant funding?
  • To be eligible to the program, the startup must be in the early or growth stage as defined below:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  • Nascent/idea-stage companies or mature companies (e.g. mature incumbent distribution businesses) are not eligible.
Our company has gone to substantial lengths to get to where we are now. However, we haven't started generating revenue as we need proper funding for marketing our product. Does our lack of revenue make us ineligible?
  • While the absence of clear revenue data will not result in an automatic disqualification, applications will be required to provide evidence on validated customer demand and a developed a working prototype with a strong plan to scale and sustain growth.

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

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