Villgro Kenya Awards $150K to 12 Startups Fighting COVID-19 in Africa Including An Ethiopian Startup

Villgro Kenya has awarded $150K in grant to 12 innovative startups from East Africa with technologies and innovations that could help in testing, monitoring and managing aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Maisha Technology, an Ethiopian Startup is one of the part of the 12 innovative startups that will share the grant.


Maisha Technology is startup that builds a tech-based solutions for healthcare-related social issues. One of the Maisha's project is to deployes locally built drones that deliveres medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.


It can be recalled that Maisha was also part of Airbus BizLab, which is a global aerospace accelerator, where startups and airbus intrapreneurs speed up the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable businesses.


However, Maisha is awarded by Villgro Kenya for it's innovation in 3D printing face shields. After COVID-19 virus started to spread to Ethiopia, Maisha have been building a 3D printing PPE for front line health workers in Ethiopia.

The 12 companies selected for funding and technical assistance include; KEMRI – Rapid Diagnostic Kit, Health-E-Net – Telemedicine platform, Enzi Health – Hail-a-clinic, Flare – Emergency response, Neopenda Uganda – remote patient monitoring device, Maisha Technologies Ethiopia – 3D printing face shields, Simbona Africa – UVC Light treatment, Kijenzi – 3D printing of PPE’s and Medixus – a peer learning platform for doctors.


Funding will also go to three Kenyan local ventilators manufacturing; the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Ventilators Africa, and Samuel Kairu a local manufacturer using readily available mechanical materials to manufacture low-cost ventilators.

The grant will go towards product development, scaling up production to meet local and regional demand, and improving systems to ensure more people get access to quality and affordable healthcare during the pandemic.

Speaking on the grant awards, Villgro Kenya CEO, Dr. Robert Karanja said, “Innovations like these show the true resilience and grit communities have to fight health challenges in the African continent. We have come out to support these solutions because we believe they will have the greatest impact on the fight against coronavirus in Africa.”

He further added that Medical Diagnostics and Devices are very critical in the management of the disease, and the coronavirus has shown the world the need for more investments in diagnostic devices which are able to significantly reduce the cost of treatment and prevent further infections of various diseases.

Villgro Kenya is an early-stage business incubator and impact investor that supports healthcare and life science startups in the East African region. Villgro Kenya works to transform product and process innovations into viable and scalable businesses that impact those at the base of the pyramid (BoP).

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