Philips, Innovation Hub announce finalists of healthcare innovation challenge


Philips and Pretoria’s Innovation Hub have announced the five finalists of the first Innovation Fellows competition, which looks to unlock local solutions in the healthcare sector.

Disrupt Africa reported last month on the competition, in which innovators stand the chance to win ZAR200,000 (US$15,000) as a research and development budget.

The top five finalists have now been selected – after the competition received 61 entries – and awarded ZAR12,000 (US$900) each. Each innovator will also be partnered with a mentor, who will guide in putting together a business plan and pitch. The overall winner will be announced in November.

“New innovations can have a substantial impact on health care service delivery by allowing for better access to care thanks to more affordable products for instance, enabling faster diagnosis of illnesses or more effective treatment of diseases,” said JJ Van Dongen, senior vice president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Philips Africa.

The five finalists are Carol Thomas, for her iMobiMama IT platform and mobile kiosk; Sudesh Sivarasu, who proposes to develop a low-cost portable mechanical non-invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator; Ragesh Pillai, who is looking to make the management of diabetes easier; Dean Hodgskiss, who aims to increase the capacity of healthcare workers and medical equipment at primary healthcare sites through the utilisation of a mobile communication app; and De Wet Swanepoel, with the low-cost hearScreen mHealth solution.

“We are inspired by these finalists and are looking forward to providing real healthcare solutions that will make a real difference in people’s lives,” said van Dongen.


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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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