African entrepreneurship initiative AMPION and healthcare firm Merck have partnered to launch Africa’s first healthcare accelerator, aimed at fostering the growth of high potential, early-stage e-health startups.
AMPION and Merck first joined forces last year for the former’s Venture Bus initiative – which will take place again this year – but have solidified their partnership with the healthcare specific accelerator.
The accelerator will operate out of Nairobi, Kenya, and will accept applications from e-health startups from September 1. It will provide selected startups with customised support from Merck Headquarters’ Innovation Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, as well as mentorship and the potential to secure pilots and synergies with key global players.
AMPION said the e-health accelerator will combine technology, industry expertise and best practices to help similar positioned startups accelerate growth.
“The launch of the first healthcare accelerator in Africa is designed to be a major boost to healthcare innovation on the continent. Africa has many of the fastest growing technology markets worldwide,” said Alexander Hoffmann, Merck project manager.
“For us at Merck, the support of healthcare technology on the continent is important not just in terms of social impact but also as a long-term business investment. We expect to remain the leading healthcare expert across Africa and spearhead healthcare innovation on a continent on the uprise.”
AMPION chief executive officer (CEO) Fabian Guhl said his organisation was delighted to have established a strong partnership with a world-leading pharmaceutical company.
“Our entrepreneurship programmes bring some of the most innovative startups in Africa to life. This newly established accelerator will play a key role in enabling these early-stage startups to enter the market and make both a social and economic impact,” he said.
The accelerator will accept applications to its programme on a rolling basis, with an expected residency period of between three and six months for each portfolio company.