‘We offer African entrepreneurs our 60 years of experience in the African health sector and we open up our strong network to co-develop innovative home-grown solutions for better health in Africa!’

Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa

The Innovate for Life Fund

The only health sector specific programme targeting African rooted start-ups!


The Innovate for Life Fund will tackle Africa’s most daunting health challenges by supporting local entrepreneurs and investing in companies that develop innovative, home-grown solutions.

Health demands in Africa are growing rapidly due to the continent’s rapidly expanding population, which is expected to double to 2 billion by 2050. A new generation of African entrepreneurs has recognised the need to develop novel technological solutions but are faced with a lack of support for early-stage entrepreneurs.


The Innovate for Life Fund aims to invest in African health entrepreneurs to create home-grown health solutions for the African market.

We offer African health sector-specific support: knowledge, network and access to funding. This is combined with business coaching by an experienced fund management organisation.


The Innovate for Life Fund will start in 2017 with a health specific Accelerator and Entrepreneur in Residence programme, embedding a maximum of six talented entrepreneurs at the Amref Health Africa offices in September 2017. The Fund will offer entrepreneurs the support of Amref Health Africa’s facilities and their extensive health network.

In January 2018, a maximum of three entrepreneurs will be invited to partner with Amref Health Africa, which will offer follow up support and joint outreach to investors both in Africa and worldwide.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for passionate entrepreneurs with an innovative product or service to improve primary health care in Africa. These entrepreneurs will need to convince the panellists on the sustainability and scalability of their business case. With the selected entrepreneurs, Amref Health Africa will enter into a mutual commitment and long-term relationship. This may concerns equity share.

To stimulate home-grown innovation, the Innovate for Life Fund targets entrepreneurs based in Sub Sahara Africa countries and/ or with Sub Sahara African origin.  A health panel and selection committee will vet the applicants and their decision wil be final.

Meet our innovative six of 2017!

We are proud to present.. our “Innovative Six”. These entrepreneurs have been selected out of 246 applications by a health panel and a selection committee. With this group we have started our first Accelerator programme, dedicated to scale innovative solutions to improve health in Africa!

Download the PDF

Members of the Health Panel

The first round of selection will be carried out by a health panel. They will judge the applicants on innovativeness, impact potential and appropriateness of their products and services.

Dr Njeri Mwaura

Policy Officer International Finance Corporation, Health In Africa Initiative

Evelyn Gitau

Responsible for Grand Challenges Africa at the African Academy of Sciences

Peter Ngatia

Director of Capacity Building Amref Health Africa

Members of the Selection Committee

The second round of selection will be carried out by an selection committee. Their judgement will be based on the capabilities of the founder and their team, scalability and sustainability of the business plan.

Frederick Kambo

Director in the Healthcare team, The Abraaj Group

Lilian Mramba

Africa Regional Director Grassroots Business Fund

Tito Alai

CEO at Mimi Africa

Eline Blaauboer

Managing Partner Africa Tech Ventures en TBL Mirror Fund

Advisory Committee

An international panel of experts may be consulted by the Innovate for Life Fund team on the outcome of the selection process.

Professor David E Neal

Senior Vice President, Global Research (Academic) Research Networks Elsevier B.V.

Dick Sietses

Partner of Health Innovations


Selected entrepreneurs will participate in a tailor-made three months accelerator programme, offering health specific knowledge, network and business coaching. The programme consists of: product/service review by experts, user group sessions, stakeholder sessions, site visits, piloting of products and services etc. Entrepreneurs will receive training and support on business skills such as setting up a legal, tax and administrative organisation.

Entrepreneur in Residence

For a period of 12 months (incl. accelerator programme) the participating entrepreneurs can make use of office space at the Amref Health Africa’s premises in Nairobi. This is a vibrant place where Amref staff, health specialists, health professionals, governmental authorities and international donors meet. It will enable the entrepreneur to access Amref’s knowledge and networks.

What do we offer?

  • The opportunity to develop your proposition in a strategic partnership with Africa’s leading health organisation;
  • A tailor-made, health sector specific training and mentoring programme divided in two phases.  Phase I: 8 weeks, 6 entrepreneurs. Phase II: 4 weeks with the top 3 entrepreneurs.
  • In a small group of a maximum of 6 entrepreneurs;
  • Guidance of an experienced international fund management organisation;
  • Access to key African stakeholders in the health sector;
  • Access to an international network of donors, investors and (corporate) partners;
  • The programs will choose up to three of the most promising enterprises to enter into strategic partnership, which may include financial support and future
    equity participation.

Access to finance and markets

The Innovate for Life Fund supports innovative entrepreneurs towards follow up investments. To do this traditional (impact) investors and donors will be engaged from the start, via the Amref network of offices in Europe, Northern America and Canada, to follow them on their entrepreneurial journey and to invest when appropriate.


Deadline for applications: 31st of July
Selection process: August 2017
Accelerator programme: September – November 2017



If you have a question, please contact us at info@innovate4lifefund.com


The Elsevier Foundation
Grassroots Business Fund
Nationale Postcode Loterij