The India-based Villgro Innovations Foundation has launched an incubator for early-stage businesses in the healthcare and life sciences sector in Nairobi, Kenya.
In India, Villgro works with early-stage for-profit social enterprises that have an impact on the lives of the poor, incubating companies in sectors such as education, health, energy and agriculture.
Villgro Kenya is a health-focused incubator set up in partnership with the Lemelson Foundation. It will offer mentoring, funding and access to networks to companies with products that can disrupt the status quo in the healthcare space and can scale to other regions.
“After initial research, we saw the need in the health sector and in the incubation of health startups, with the potential to have the maximum impact,” Aditi Seshadri, head of communications at Villgro Innovations Foundation, told Disrupt Africa.
“Replicating many of Villgro’s learnings and knowledge over a period of time, Villgro Kenya will run a longer incubation programme offering companies close mentoring support and other services to help their businesses scale.”
Seshadri said Villgro sees plenty of potential for more South-South collaboration, particularly in Kenya, which is similar to India in that it has social problems but a stable political climate and an entrepreneurial culture. Kenyan healthcare startups can apply for incubation here.
Villgro supports companies with seed funding, high-touch mentoring with an experienced senior advisor and networks. Since 2001, it has helped 119 entrepreneurs create more than 4,000 jobs.
It is expanding into Kenya in partnership with USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative.
“This partnership combines the knowledge and implementation of Villgro with the expertise and networks of PACE, and will help catalyse the implementation of what has been a highly effective approach by Villgro in India into Villgro Kenya,” said Seshadri.