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INNOVATION: Ifakara Hub empowers local healthcare startups

April 15, 2024 10:00
INNOVATION: Ifakara Hub empowers local healthcare startups
Ifakara Innovation Hub FabLab Coordinator, Adella Salum facilitates a session during the Medical Innovation and Health Care Technology boot camp for healthcare innovators held in Ifakara. PHOTO | IFAKARA Communications

Ifakara Innovation Hub (IIH) conducted a five-day Medical Innovation and Health Care Technology boot camp for healthcare innovators across Tanzania. The capacity building program, held in Ifakara from April 15-19, aimed to provide essential skills and support to improve startups that drive innovation in the healthcare sector.

Ten promising startups selected from a competitive pool of 71 applicants acquired basic technical skills and knowledge on rapid prototyping, engineering design skills, human-centred design, and business development.

Throughout the intensive program facilitated by the IIH team, including Abbas Sykes, the Innovation Program Lead, Adella Salum the FabLab Coordinator and Rachel Magodi, the Community Engagement Officer, participants engaged in several hands-on training sessions, concluding with a pitch competition.

Describing the event and its impact on participants, the IIH stated, “They (participants) will be taken through transformative training in the realm of innovation, which will subsequently be followed by a pitch competition where they will all pitch to a jury, and 3 promising startups will be officially enrolled in the IIH PDP incubation program. Most of the startups selected are at the ideation stage and have never participated in an incubation hub before.”

“Those who will be incubated will be supported by IIH to improve their ideas into business products, and formally register their startups,” they added.

The training sessions
These sessions involved group discussions, interviews, research, assignments, and presentations, crafted to empower participants with the knowledge and tools needed to bring their innovative ideas to life.

The pitch competition
Held on the final day of the program, a jury was invited, and innovators had the opportunity to pitch their ideas. The best three innovators selected would then be incubated by the IIH with quick-win ideas for the second PDP incubation program.

The program is built on the ideas and prototypes submitted by the candidates during the PDP call for a project support pipeline to address health opportunities. The call for innovators was announced earlier this year in February through March.

About Ifakara Innovation Hub
Ifakara Innovation Hub is a community of inspiration, ideation, and collaboration for solution development. This dynamic space aims to expand the innovation ecosystem to rural Tanzania, looking realistically at the trade-offs between knowledge exploration, i.e., research and exploitation of technological innovation (development and testing products) and establishing innovations compatible with the existing social, economic, and administrative systems.

The Hub’s focus is to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship and a sustainable ecosystem in Tanzania by empowering youth innovators and entrepreneurs to develop solutions to pressing issues and transform these ideas into marketable products. The Hub foresees becoming a leading initiative that empowers entrepreneurs and innovators to develop solutions to societal challenges, create growth and skilled jobs.