The name “Lafiya” has been chosen because it means “health and wellness” in Hausa, a local dialect present in both Senegal and Ghana.

Lafiya Innovators is a startup incubation program to support and accelerate early to mid-stage startups addressing challenges around health and determinants of health throughout emerging economies.

Why another startup incubation program?

By 2030, it is expected that 85% of the world’s population will be living in Low and Middle Income countries (LMICs). The substantial gap between the need for healthcare and the level of access in these countries has been well established over the past years. In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that over 400 million people in LMICs lack access to essential health services — including family planning, antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, child immunization, antiretroviral therapy, tuberculosis treatment, and access to clean water and sanitation. The same report states that 5.9 million deaths occurred in children under 5 years of age, with a disproportionate concentration of deaths occurring in LMICs. At the same time, rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCD) in LMICs are increasing faster, in young people, and with worse outcomes than in wealthier countries. More than ever do we need innovative solutions to tackle these health challenges, and to do so we need to collaborate, share knowledge and expertise, and build bridges globally.

Objectives of the program

Lafiya Innovators is a startup support program funded by Fondation Botnar and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Global Programme Health, developed by Impact Hub Basel, and implemented in collaboration with Impact Hub Accra, Impact Hub Dakar, and the African Health Innovation Centre, the program supports ambitious entrepreneurs throughout the venture lifecycle, from determining a basic business model to completing the due diligence process necessary for fundraising.

Aiming to deliver impact at scale, the program focuses in particular on technological innovations and systemic solutions targeting underserved populations, including adolescents (and children) and women. In addition, the program seeks to strengthen the local health ecosystem and health entrepreneurship capacity by bringing together and engaging a strong community of health stakeholders, both locally and globally.

Who are We Looking For?

Aiming to deliver impact at scale, the program focuses in particular on technological innovations and systemic solutions targeting underserved populations, including adolescents (and children) and women. In addition, the program seeks to strengthen the local health ecosystem and health entrepreneurship capacity by bringing together and engaging a strong community of health stakeholders, both locally and globally. Specific criteria is listed below:

  • Open to for-profit and non-profit startups
  • Startups may be focused in any area of health and wellness, including but not limited to clinical care, public health, community-based health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Startups may also focus on core operational areas, such as health-focused logistics, fintech, or edtech solutions.
  • Solutions may be focused on both the public or private sectors and may have a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) approach.

What do You Gain from Participation?

  • Six months of direct incubation support from Impact Hubs Basel, Accra, and Dakar – locally rooted, globally connected
  • Six months of direct health innovation advisory and networking support from the African Health Innovation Centre
  • An all-expenses paid one-week trip to Switzerland for Immersion Week, including ecosystem tours and participation at the Global Health Forum in Geneva
  • Modest financial support for startups throughout the six-month incubation period

The two Lafiya Innovators Tracks

The Lafiya Innovators program is a six-month incubator taking place in two West African cities. The Starter Track will support three early-stage startups in Dakar, Senegal and the Growth Track will support three mid-stage startups in Accra, Ghana. Specialised health innovation support will be provided directly to startups in both communities.

Lafiya Innovators: Starter Track

Launching in Dakar, Senegal aiming at ideation stage startups. The goal of this track is to support them in validating their business model and minimum viable product (MVP) in order to launch to market.

Have a great idea, but haven’t yet taken the next step? Have you launched, but are just starting to develop customers? The Starter Track is for you. During their six-month commitment in this track, entrepreneurs will grow their professional network, establish a basic business model, and develop a minimum viable product.

Selected startups will receive comprehensive training, access to special events and networking opportunities, established coworking space, and modest financial support.

  • Open to Senagalese residents, age 18+
  • One individual per startup may apply and participate (even if representing a larger team)
  • Ideal for ideation-stage to early-stage ventures
  • Must have an established, specific business idea that is your own
  • Must be available for participation ~25 hours per week for six months (November 2019 – May 2020)
  • Must be available full-time for specific weeks (dates provided in advance)
  • Must be available to attend a Swiss Innovation Immersion week in Switzerland for one week in March 2020 (all expenses paid by Lafiya Innovators)
  • Must be prepared to pitch during “Demo Day” in May 2020
  • Conversational- to professional-level English is required for participation in the program

Lafiya Innovators: Growth Track

Launching in Accra, Ghana aiming at pre-seed stage startups. The goal of this track is to prepare the selected startups by supporting their due diligence efforts for their first pre-seed funding opportunities.

Have you proven your basic business model and are now looking for funding to scale? The Growth Track is for you.

Lafiya’s Growth Track is located in Accra, Ghana. During their six-month commitment in this track, entrepreneurs will further iterate and expand on their existing business model, complete the due diligence process for fundraising, and gear up to raise their first $100,000 USD of pre-seed funding.

Selected startups will receive comprehensive training, access to special events and networking opportunities, established coworking space, and modest financial support.

  • Open to ECOWAS residents, age 18+ (must reside in Accra for full six month duration of program at own expense)
  • One individual per startup may apply and participate (even if representing a larger team)
  • Ideal for early- to mid-stage ventures
  • Must have an active business or NGO venture already working with customers
  • Must be available for participation ~25 hours per week for six months (November 2019 – May 2020)
  • Must be available full-time for specific weeks (dates provided in advance)
  • Must be available to attend a Swiss Innovation Immersion week in Switzerland for one week in March 2020 (all expenses paid by Lafiya Innovators)
  • Must be prepared to pitch during “Demo Day” in May 2020
  • Professional-level English is required for participation in the program

Any questions, ideas or other input? Contact lafiya.innovators@impacthub.net

EXECUTING PARTNERS

FUNDING PARTNER