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German science and technology company Merck has launched a programme which will give 20 top African healthtech startups an opportunity to participate in the Merck Accelerator to collaborate with the company.
Applications close on Wednesday (17 July).
This initiative organised in partnership with tech entrepreneurship initiative Make-IT in Africa.
The focus is on startups working in three areas, namely: Digital Solutions in the Health Sector, Liquid Biopsy Technologies and Bio-Sensing and Interfaces.
The selected startups will benefit from business case development, a journey on ecosystem learning by attending several exhibitions and networking with a broad community of startups and investors gaining relevant exposure.
Merck aims to work with 20 top African healthtech startups through the programme
The initiative will conclude with a fully paid trip to Merck Innovation Center at the company’s headquarters after the completion of the programme in Africa.
The startups that qualify to join the final Selection Days for the Merck Accelerator will have the opportunity to participate in the annual global programme in the company’s headquarters, maximising their chances to win a leading partner for their business.
To be considered, startups must be registered in an African country, have a minimum of two co-founders and must have been operating for at least one year.
How you can make your entry stand out?
Merck Accelerator Programme manager Hervé Kubwimana advises that applicants need to show a good understanding of how their proposed solution helps users and how it will in turn improve health outcomes.
He says since Merck is also eager to partner with the best teams. A bonus would be if startups founders are also able to identify key resources from Merck that they could benefit from.
Another would be if they are able to showcase what can they offer to the company by proposing a use-case example of a win-win situation for both, the startup and Merck. This way, the startups can maximise their possibilities to collaborate.
The programme, aims to contribute to UN Sustainable Goal number 3 (To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages).
Explains Kubwimana: “More specifically, the objective of Merck Accelerator is to identify innovative startups that fit in the strategic areas we are focused on and connect them to Merck to build sustainable business partnerships”.
He explains that for generations, Merck’s mission has been to improve and prolong life.
The company’s work has ranged from prescription medicines to treating cancer and infertility, with its goal being to make a difference to millions of people around the world. “We asked ourselves: what’s the secret behind growth? People with great ideas.
“We want to involve budding innovators in our journey to invent, innovate and develop beyond our current scope and our centuries-long commitment to finding and nurturing transformational solutions is ready to support entrepreneurs to co-create long-lasting solutions,” says Kubwimana.
African innovators will be able to benefit from the expertise that Merck has developed over generations, all while bringing the startups own pioneering ideas to fruition.
“This is an opportunity to build up connections with the global Merck Accelerator network, which nurtures the startups shaping the future of healthcare, life science and performance materials worldwide.”
For the programme, Merck is specifically looking to collaborate with innovative African startups across:
Digital Solutions for the health sector:
- Digital patient management solutions
- Fintech solutions like savings groups, healthcare financing and insurance
- Rapid diagnostic tests and e-health solutions
- Digital health education solutions for patients
- Patient support programmes
- Community self-service enablement solutions
Bio- Sensing and Interfaces:
- Real-time remote monitoring enabling decentralised healthcare
- Medical treatment tailored and adaptive to patient condition
- Measurement of and response to external stimuli and metabolic reactions
- Decrease of side effects
- Outcome and value-based treatments, in which drugs are only reimbursed when the desired patient outcome is achieved
Liquid Biopsy Technologies:
- Non-invasive diagnosis and patient monitoring leading to early diagnosis and personalised treatments
- Individualised treatment selection in cancer and beyond
Startups selected for the programme will benefit from:
- A fully-paid bootcamp in Nairobi for top 20 startups to ideate and develop business cases for collaboration with Merck powered by HYBR.
- Continuous business support, technical support and online mentoring and coaching
- Scaleup diagnostics and design for scale training
- Exhibition space at the SA Innovation Summit in Cape Town for the top four finalists
- A demo day at Merck in South Africa for the top four finalists
- Exhibition space at the Medica conference in Dusseldorf, Germany for top the top four finalists
- A fully paid trip for the top four finalists to the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany to pitch for a collaboration project with Merck
Applications for the programme close on Wednesday (17 July). Learn more about the initiative and how to apply here.
This article was sponsored by Merck.
Featured image: Merck Innovation Center (Supplied)