Merck launches equity-free e-health accelerator in Nairobi

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Global science and technology firm Merck has launched its equity-free e-health accelerator programme in Nairobi, Kenya, aimed at fostering the growth of high potential, early-stage e-health startups.

Disrupt Africa reported last year Merck was to launch Africa’s first healthcare accelerator, with the company extending a concept already successfully introduced in Germany to the continent. Merck is also collaborating on the I Care 4 Africa initiative.

The three-month accelerator programme will support three startups in the field of digital health with working space at the Nairobi Garage, equity-free funding of US$15,000 and links to Merck’s global network of experts for ongoing coaching and mentoring..

Both the Kenyan and German programmes are going to be strongly connected in terms of expertise and knowledge exchange as Merck looks to grow a global accelerator network.

“With our programme in Nairobi and our growing international network, we made a first big step to go truly global with our accelerator. We want to create a platform where the potential to execute ideas is not limited by location,” said Michael Gamber, head of the Merck Innovation Centre.

“Africa is one of the most promising and dynamic markets for digital health, driven by a vibrant and innovative startup culture. With our accelerator programme, we aim to become part of it.”

Interested teams can apply for both the Kenyan and German programmes on the Merck website or directly via f6s until February 29.

“Merck is committed to supporting healthy families, healthy communities and healthy economies in Africa,” said Karl-Ludwig Kley, chairman of the executive board and chief executive officer (CEO) of Merck.

“We intend to more than double our workforce in Africa and more than double our sales by 2020.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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