Now in its second year, the 2018 Africa Innovation Challenge is open to innovators and entrepreneurs from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana among other African countries. The challenge focuses on identifying scalable and sustainable solutions to six major health and environmental problems for Africa’s population.
“The growing number of innovation hubs throughout Africa is sparking a new generation of entrepreneurs who are innovating and finding new solutions for issues facing their communities,” said Josh Ghaim, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.
“Our goal is to expand our support for the region’s entrepreneurs by pushing the boundaries of creative solutions to meet several areas of urgent need. With six new solution categories, Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 represents an extraordinary opportunity for the region’s growing community of innovators to showcase new ideas with the potential for broad societal impact,” added Ghaim.
On his part, Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson noted that the company was working with entrepreneurs around the world to relentlessly pursue innovations that advance and enhance the health of everyone.
“This is an exciting time to be part of Africa’s rapidly advancing innovation ecosystem, which recognizes that people and patients across the continent are waiting for urgent solutions. The Africa Innovation Challenge provides an important platform to support emerging entrepreneurs and help accelerate the development of unique, sustainable health care and environmental solutions.” Said Kumar
The Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 is designed to address the critical unmet needs of the continent and local communities in Africa while providing support to Africa-based entrepreneurs in creating innovative healthcare products and services.
Among the selection criteria, entries must demonstrate the potential for scale from proof of concept stage to long-term sustainability. Challenge participants with the best solutions will receive up to US$50,000 in funding and mentorship from the global network of scientists, engineers and business managers within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to bring new solutions forward.
Submissions are open to all African countries from one or more individuals, teams or companies; subject to certain eligibility requirements set out in the terms and conditions for the challenge. The submitted healthcare solutions will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria: Idea submission addresses at least one of the six challenge categories, Idea submission is innovative and creative, Idea submission is scalable. The Idea submission must also outline how the award would help the applicant(s) reach a critical milestone within the timeframe of a single year and provides a full commercialization plan.
The first Johnson & Johnson Africa Innovation Challenge, launched in November 2016, sought novel ideas with a focus on three critical health areas: promoting early child development and maternal health; empowering young women; and improving family well-being.