Startups & Ideas

i3 Calls for African Innovators to Join its Second Cohort

Innovation Africa (i3), a pan-African initiative supporting healthcare supply chain startups, is inviting leading innovators to apply for its second cohort. Backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by companies like Microsoft, Merck Sharpe & Dohme (MSD), AmerisourceBergen, and Chemonics, i3 aims to commercialize 60 early and growth-stage African-led supply chain innovators.

This program facilitates introductions between start-ups, donors, industry, and government partners to aid their growth and impact. Selected start-ups receive a $50,000 grant, targeted introductions to customers, and tailored investment readiness support. The initiative is actively seeking out women-led companies and those operating in Francophone regions.

The first cohort, selected in September 2022, had 31 innovators enhancing healthcare product accessibility in more than 24,000 hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies across 26 African countries. i3 has facilitated 200+ introductions between cohort, sponsors, and potential partners like USAID, The Global Fund, and more. The program has also featured cohort companies on CNBC Africa, at the Africa Health Agenda International Conference, the Africa CEO forum, and more. To date, more than 17 innovators have secured partnerships and pilot projects.

Applications for the second cohort are open until June 26th, with selected start-ups announced on September 14th. i3 is coordinated by Salient Advisory, Southbridge A&I, and Solina Center for Research and Development (SCIDaR). CcHUB, Startupbootcamp Afritech, Villgro Africa, and IMPACT Lab lead cohort selection and investment readiness support.

MSD’s Yusuf Rasool, Director of Sustainable Access Solutions, Global Market Access, said, “Expanding access to medicines requires a new way of thinking that taps into the incredible talent we have across the continent.” Meanwhile, Kieran Daly, Director of Global Health Agencies and Funds at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, added, “We believe local, data-driven innovators closest to the delivery challenges are critical to building the resilient, agile, and responsive supply chains we need.”

For more information and to apply, visit and join i3 in creating a more inclusive and innovative ecosystem for health-tech start-ups in Africa.

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