The name “Lafiya” has been chosen because it means “health and wellness” in Hausa, a local dialect present in both Senegal and Ghana.
Lafiya Innovators is a startup incubation program to support and accelerate early to mid-stage startups addressing challenges around health and determinants of health in lower and middle-income countries.
WHY ANOTHER STARTUP INCUBATION PROGRAM?
By 2030, it is expected that 85% of the world’s population will be living in Low and Middle Income countries (LMICs). The substantial gap between the need for healthcare and the level of access in these countries has been well established over the past years. In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that over 400 million people in LMICs lack access to essential health services — including family planning, antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, child immunization, antiretroviral therapy, tuberculosis treatment, and access to clean water and sanitation. The same report states that 5.9 million deaths occurred in children under 5 years of age, with a disproportionate concentration of deaths occurring in LMICs. At the same time, rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCD) in LMICs are increasing faster, in young people, and with worse outcomes than in wealthier countries. More than ever do we need innovative solutions to tackle these health challenges, and to do so we need to collaborate, share knowledge and expertise, and build bridges globally.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM
Lafiya Innovators is a startup support program developed by Impact Hub Basel to accelerate early-stage startups tackling health and health-related challenges in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs). Funded by Fondation Botnar and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Global Programme Health, the program supports ambitious entrepreneurs in LMICs building scalable solutions to improve access to health or determinants of health, including nutrition and education. Aiming to deliver impact at scale, the program focuses in particular on technological innovations and systemic solutions targeting underserved populations, including adolescents (and children) and women. In addition, the program seeks to strengthen the local health ecosystem and health entrepreneurship capacity by bringing together and engaging a strong community of health stakeholders, both locally and globally.
THE TWO LAFIYA INNOVATORS TRACKS
Senegal and Ghana have a different level of health startup innovation ecosystem. Therefore, the program is adapted to fit the unique needs of the respective ecosystems. The Starter Track will support three early-stage startups in Dakar, Senegal and the Growth Track will support three mid-stage startups in Accra, Ghana. Specialised health innovation support will be provided directly to startups in both communities.
Have you proven your basic business model and are now looking for funding to scale? The Growth Track is for you.
Lafiya’s Growth Track is located in Accra, Ghana. During their six-month commitment in this track, entrepreneurs will further iterate and expand on their existing business model, complete the due diligence process for fundraising, and gear up to raise their first $100,000 USD of pre-seed funding.
Selected startups will receive comprehensive training, access to special events and networking opportunities, established coworking space, and modest financial support.
- Open to ECOWAS residents, age 18+ (must reside in Accra for full six month duration of program at own expense)
- One individual per startup may apply and participate (even if representing a larger team)
- Ideal for early- to mid-stage ventures
- Must have an active business or NGO venture already working with customers
- Must be available for participation ~25 hours per week for six months (November 2019 – May 2020)
- Must be available full-time for specific weeks (dates provided in advance)
- Must be available to attend a Swiss Innovation Immersion week in Switzerland for one week in March 2020 (all expenses paid by Lafiya Innovators)
- Must be prepared to pitch during “Demo Day” in May 2020
- Professional-level English is required for participation in the program
The Lafiya Innovators Growth Track (Accra, Ghana) is an invite-only application process. Please provide a 250-word summary below about why you feel your startup is prepared to participate. Selected startups will be contacted to complete a full application.
Both tracks will follow the same timeline below. The difference lies in the maturity of the startups targeted during recruitment and the contents of the incubation for each track will be tailored to the needs of the selected startups.