Villgro Africa and ICChange Partner to Scale African Social Enterprises

Africa’s development challenges can be sustainably overcome through success in the private sector: for-profit, innovative products and business models that are demand-driven and scalable. These enterprises deliver social impact by creating jobs for Africa’s rural and urban poor or by meeting their needs as the target market. The missing link in enabling these innovative businesses to thrive is a compelling business case that leads to funding and scaling.

With this in mind, Villgro Africa and ICChange have signed an MOU to collaborate on scaling enterprises and initiatives that positively impact health outcomes in Africa. The aim of this partnership is to leverage the experience and inherent expertise within each organization so that both can increase their respective reach and impact.  This will include:

  1. Joint participation on funding proposals to address Africa’s health challenges;
  2. Joint project development and implementation of interventions to deliver affordable, innovative solutions;
  3. Joint resource mobilization from various donors to finance private and social enterprises that are developing and delivering sustainable pro-poor solutions to health challenges;
  4. Joint participation in conferences and trainings on innovative financing and enterprise business development;
  5. Facilitating learning through product research, development and design iterations, market studies, study visits, product demonstrations and training sessions;
  6. Explore areas of synergy with a specific focus on growth and development; and 
  7. Leverage the skills in each organization towards a combined greater impact

ICChange has a cross-sectoral, global talent pool and will provide access to this network as necessary,  specifically in areas where clear value addition is evident. They can also facilitate linkages to health practitioners who have direct interest and expertise that can increase the success of portfolio companies. Because they are based in Canada, they will also engage Canadian research hubs and/or “Innovation or Living Labs” with a specific focus on collaborating with peers based in the Global South.  Translational research will be a key area of focus.

Villgro Africa will offer its business incubation and technology commercialization services for eligible technologies with public health impact arising from ICChange’s activities and pipeline. They will also collaborate and strengthen existing capacity and specialized skills in their areas of expertise, including market and end-user informed product design, intellectual property, manufacturing and distribution, policy and regulatory compliance, within ICChange to promote “home-grown” innovations in health and life sciences. They will also provide technical assistance to eligible ICChange innovators that will enable them set up legal trading entities, develop business models and raise funds that would enable the companies to scale up.