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 in lower and middle-income countries.

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 developed by Impact Hub Basel to accelerate early-stage startups tackling health and health-related challenges in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs). Funded by Fondation Botnar and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Global Programme Health, the program supports ambitious entrepreneurs in LMICs building scalable solutions to improve access to health or determinants of health, including nutrition and education. 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.

The two Lafiya Innovators Tracks

Senegal and Ghana have a different level of health startup innovation ecosystem. Therefore, we have adapted our program to fit as follows:

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.

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.

Both tracks will follow the same timeline below. The difference lies in the maturity of the startups targeted during recruitment and the contents of the incubation for each track will be tailored to the needs of the selected startups.

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