As we approach the end of 2022, Villgro Africa’s leadership team is excited to share some reflections on what we’ve accomplished in the past 12 months – and what we look forward to in 2023! We are incredibly grateful for where we find ourselves after a year of exciting growth and impact.
As an essential part of our work and expansion, partnerships were a key feature of 2022. We completed our first co-incubation program with Ghana Tech Labs focusing on female founders, which took some of our team to Accra for a week of trainings. We brought together a consortium of partners for the Artificial Intelligence for Health program, leading the way in supporting the growth of AI in health on the continent. We managed several successful exits from the research impact voucher program through our partnership with IDRC, a rare example in the sector of research to commercialisation in practice. Through these and more, we believe we’ve continued to establish ourselves as the go-to partner in healthcare in Africa.
Part of what has helped position us as an ideal partner in the healthcare innovation space is the fact that we’ve grown significantly in our br
and recognition. We’ve refined our messaging, leaned into creative ways of communicating and, as a result, our audience has a better understanding of who we are. This has also resulted in some international recognition, including our nomination for the Galien Foundation’s Prix Galien Awards 2022 and Wilfred Njagi’s Africa’s Most Respected CEOs Award.
We have been delighted over and over again with the exciting progress of the portfolio companies we support. DropAccess won the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge grand prize of $250,000. Streamline was awarded $350,000 for the 2022 Entrepreneurs for Resilience Reward from the Swiss Re Foundation. ClinicPesa, Zuri Health, NegusMed, Damu Sasa and The Pathology Network were all chosen for the Investing in Innovation (I3) program, which included a financial award of $50,000 each.
Our invention based enterprises (IBEs) have also made significant progress, with companies like Wekebere, A-Lite and Simbona benefiting from the research impact vouchers, our unique offering for building academia-to-industry linkages. And MamaOpe, who are developing a medical device that detects the signs of respiratory disease, recently received approval for clinical trials – a huge milestone in the very long and challenging device development journey!
None of our success would be possible without our strong team. In 2022, we have added exciting new team members and have seen significant professional growth in both our existing and new staff. Our commitment to excellence is increasingly evident, the quality of our work continues to elevate, and we are committed to meeting the highest standards.
Next year, we’re going to build on this strong foundation to continue providing the support that emerging businesses in the health sciences need most. We will expand our role and influence across Africa, continually seeking out partnerships that allow us to have on-the-ground knowledge in a variety of countries. We also look forward to hosting a summit, convening current and potential partners to address the many challenges and opportunities in the healthcare innovation space.