Are You Driving Social Impact within the Health Innovation Space?

By Anna Johnson, Editor Online, Business Fights Poverty

Applications for funding of up to 50K Euros are now available for entrepreneurs with well-established start-ups in the human (non-communicable diseases) or animal health space through Making More Health (MMH) Accelerator, a new initiative from Ashoka and Boelhringer Ingelheim. Deadline: Friday February 15th

In Germany, time constraints often mean that breast cancer screening examinations are done quickly. Frank Hoffman CEO and Founder of Discovering Hands has worked as a gynaecologist since 1993. During this time, Frank always focused his practice on early detection. But he also believed that the examination could be optimised; “The idea occurred to me that one could improve the breast exam, if it was performed by a gifted woman, with a highly-developed sense of touch. And the blind have the best sense of touch of anyone”. Emboldened by support from Ashoka and Boelhringer Ingelheim, Frank has transformed the idea into a reality. His pioneering methodology, which trains blind people to become exceptional diagnosticians using an innovative mapping system with braille coordinates, has enabled over 10 blind women to conduct breast examinations. 

Now, the collaborative forces at Ashoka and Boelhringer Ingelheim are looking to empower more entrepreneurs to create health innovations, which drive positive social impact, through an ambitious project: the MMH Accelerator. Successful applicants will experience a unique access point onto the global health stage through this 11month co-creation oriented programme, working hand-in-hand with Boehringer Ingelheim employees, to collaboratively design and implement health interventions. Participating entrepreneurs behind successful interventions will also be put forward to pitch their solution to Boehringer Ingelheim’s leadership team as well as social investors to attract further investment.

Who should apply?

Social entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply if their organisations meet the following criteria:

  • A fully registered legal entity that is at least two years old.
  • Post revenue with a product, customers and sales.
  • Established with an office, team, basic systems and processes in place.
  • Operating in Kenya, Ghana or Nigeria.
  • Open to working with a pharmaceutical company such as Boehringer Ingelheim in a co-creation approach.
  • Capacity to dedicate a full-time resource(s) to execute MMH Accelerator activities.
  • Potential to create shared-value through co-creation.
  • The disruptive potential of the innovation.
  • Strategic fit for Boehringer Ingelheim.

What are the benefits?

  1. Trainings (both virtual and in-person) on business growth and scaling strategies, investor engagement and pitching, tailored to the strategic needs of your organisation.
  2. Access to technical expertise (in-person) in finance, strategy, operations, information technology, marketing and social investing among others to help you address strategic capacity gaps specific to your organisation.
  3. Access to strategic networks including social investors, leading social entrepreneurs in the health care space and executive team members from Boehringer Ingelheim and Ashoka. 
  4. Funding of up to Euros 50k in cash plus additional in-kind expertise valued at Euros 100k.
  5. Investor engagement support including preparation of investor engagement materials and facilitated access to investors.

How the program works

Co-creation Definition: Through all phases of the MMH Accelerator, a co-creation approach is employed to facilitate a collaborative process in which social entrepreneurs work hand-in-hand with Boehringer Ingelheim employees to innovate and problem-solve in a way that creates shared value for the social entrepreneurs, the corporation and society. Ashoka plays a key facilitative role in managing and coordinating this co-creation process to ensure a win-win-win result for all parties.

  • Funding: Funding includes up to Euros 50k in cash plus over Euros 100k of in-kind expert support throughout the program. All travel and accommodation costs related to accelerator activities are covered for participants.
  • Travel: Participation in the accelerator involves multiple travel opportunities for training, networking and pitching activities, mainly in Nairobi, Kenya and Ingelheim, Germany. It is important that selected social entrepreneurs or their dedicated resource person are available to attend.

If you are driving social impact within the health innovation space, we encourage you to take your idea to the next level, in a dynamic environment. Apply to the MMH Accelerator by Friday, February 15th now for your opportunity to work with a great health and social innovation collaboration. To download an application form go to: Making More Health and for programme inquiries, contact: Yeleka Barrett at yb******@as****.org

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