10 African startups winners of MIT Solve initiative

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Ten African tech startups are among the 33 winners from across the world of Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which offers startups funding and access to a global network.

Solve advances lasting solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address the world’s most pressing problems, with its latest class announced at the Solve Challenge Finals in New York from a pool of 1,150 applicants from 110 countries.

The new class comes from 15 countries, with 10 African startups among the winners. US$1 million in prize funding is available for the new class, with a total of over US$3.5 million in funding announced for current and new Solver teams.

Africa was best represented in Solve’s Frontlines of Health Challenge, with four startups winners. They were Nigerian medical product discovery and delivery service LifeBank, Ugandan wearable body monitoring device Neopenda, Kenyan mobile disease management service Akiba ya Roho, and Rwanda’s E-Heza Digital Health Record.

Three African startups won the Teachers & Educators Challenge, including learning content platform Eneza and coding accelerator Moringa School, both from Kenya, and Ghana’s Practical Education Network, which helps STEM teachers employ inquiry-based pedagogies in their classrooms.

Nigeria’s ColdHubs, which provides 24/7 solar powered refrigeration in markets and farms, and Benin’s Green Keeper Africa, which harvests an invasive weed and transforms it into a fibre that can absorb oil spills, were winners in the in the Coastal Communities Challenge, while Kenyan startup Lynk, which provides informal workers with access to markets and payment management, was among the Work of the Future Challenge winners.

Lynk and E-Heza: Digital Health Record both received grant funding from the Save the Children Prize for Breakthrough Innovations for Children, while the Teachers & Educators Prize awarded funding to Practical Education Network, Eneza and Moringa School. Neopenda won US$30,000 after securing the UN Women She Innovates Prize for Gender-Responsive Innovation.

“We are incredibly inspired by each new Solver selected at Solve Challenge Finals as they advance solutions to four of the world’s biggest Challenges,” said Solve’s executive director Alex Amouyel.

“Today is just the start of the journey for our Solver teams; this is when the real work begins to broker partnerships with Solve members and partners on behalf of these innovators. We want to support our Solver teams so they can access mentors and experts to help validate and scale their solutions, as well as additional follow-on funding and in-kind resources.”

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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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