Call for African AI-Enabled Healthcare Solutions

Deadline: 25th November 2022

Are you an African AI health-tech innovator with an idea or solution to improve health outcomes? The Artificial Intelligence for Health in Africa (AI4H Africa) program is a collaboration between Villgro Africa, IDRC, AI4D, the Africa Oxford Initiative, I-DAIR, Johnson and Johnson Impact Ventures, and NVIDIA to supportinnovations, policy research, andskills to spur responsible AI development in Africa.

These partners have come together with the aim of uncovering African AI-enabled healthcare solutions and innovations that will be instrumental in catalyzing the emerging ecosystem towards responsible development of technology while strengthening the capacity of African innovators with regards to scaling their impact and improving development outcomes.

As part of the initiative, beneficiaries will receive funding and participate in an innovation boot camp and an acceleration program. These have been organized to support the selected entrepreneurial AI practitioners to develop innovative and commercially viable products and services.  

Who is eligible?

  • Early- and growth-stage health-focused AI innovations with validated proof of concept, recorded revenues and demonstrable potential for growth.
  • Representatives of the innovations must be a founder/co-founder of an entity with a legal presence on the continent.
  • Company must be owned, led or operated by an African(s). We define this as having an African national with long-term control and management of the business, an equity stake, and an active role in both strategic and day-to-day decision-making.
  • Business must be AI-enabled and offer data-driven products or services that improve health outcomes.
  • Must show good management and governance.
  • Non-profits, consultancies, intermediaries, and consortiums are not eligible
  • The program has a special focus on supporting founders who are traditionally excluded, including women-led companies and companies operating in Francophone Africa

What will be offered to the selected applicants?

  • A customized one-year incubation program designed to help scale the innovation toward growth  and impact, including access to training, industry experts and mentors.  
  • Funding to help scale and implement the learnings
  • Potential follow-on funding to promising startups by collaboration partners.

How to apply?

Along with filling out the application on VC4A, applicants asked to submit the following:

  • CVs of core team members (Required)
  • An updated company pitch document (Required)
  • A link to a 2-minute max video that describes the innovation (Optional)

All applications will be uploaded through the VC4A.


What problems would you like applicants to be solving?

AI4H Africa will support companies who bring affordable, high-quality, AI-enabled health products closer to where patients are. We’re looking for innovations that are solving Africa’s toughest health challenges through artificial intelligence.

Can I apply for ideas or concepts that have not yet been put into practice as businesses?

Yes. However, your innovation must demonstrate commercial promise.  The more evidence you can provide to demonstrate early-stage traction/potential, the better your chances of being selected.

Is there an application fee?

No, there is no fee required to apply. 

Who can see the information I submit in the application?

All information submitted may be seen by the AI4H Africa team and collaboration partners, which includes judges and assessors. All members of the program team are bound by confidentiality agreements. We will retain application materials of applicants (including applicants who are not selected) for up to two years.

Can I submit more than one application?

Yes, you can submit more than one application provided they are for separate businesses/ventures or research if you are involved in both.

What publicity will there be about my application?

Once companies have been admitted into the program, AI4H Africa may publicize your involvement through communications channels including but not limited to websites and social media platforms of Villgro Africa and collaboration partners, as well as other public communications channels.

How does VC4A adhere to the guidelines set by General data Protection Regulations (GDPR)?

VC4A’s adherence to guidelines set by GDPR VC4A is a data processor when it comes to applications received and processed via the website. VC4A does not process or use the data itself without explicit consent from the user filling in the application, and otherwise only stores the data on behalf of 3rd parties that use the website to receive and process applications. Under article 17, the right to be forgotten, VC4A has an automated pruning process that deletes all application data after 36 months. Any data added to the website directly, like user data and venture profiles, can be altered (Art. 16) and fully removed (Art. 17) from VC4A systems. VC4A also offers users the ability to download all their data from the website (Art. 15 + Art. 20 GDPR – data portability).

What is the selection process?

The selection committee will include analysts and judges from both Villgro Africa and partner organizations who understand the entrepreneurial journey and start-up ecosystem, including AI sector specialists.

To ensure equitable representation, the selection committee will include female and Francophone representation. 

The selection committee will meet to select the top startups in the initial screening and harmonise the cohort based on: 

    • AI-based innovation with potential for health impact and scale (25 points)
    • AI-based innovation with potential for commercial application (20 points)
    • A multidisciplinary team of at least three (3) members e.g., comprising academia and industry/private sector (20 points)
    • Align with the principles of Responsible AI (OECD AI principles, Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI and Self-assessment List for AI Developers) design(20)
    • Technical proof of concept or demonstrated revenue will be preferred over unproven ideas (15 points).

Following selection by the steering committee, the program coordination team will conduct due diligence on each selected innovator to validate the legal status of each recommended organization to ensure they are eligible to receive grant funding. Following due diligence, the cohort will be finalized, and selected innovators informed.


For more information contact: [email protected]