Healthcare Innovation in East Africa and SEAD

This post originally appeared on the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD)’s blog here. SEAD is part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network and CASE is one of the Duke campus partners of the accelerator program. We will be highlighting events from the East Africa visit throughout the week so stay tuned!

Our team just wrapped up a series of events in Kenya, giving us the opportunity to see our East Africa innovators in the field and connect with the movers and shakers of healthcare innovation in Kenya. The week started with a series of innovator site visits and workshops for all the innovators in the third SEAD cohort, from the lakeside city of Kisumu to Nairobi, with discussions focused on many of the strategic issues our entrepreneurs are facing.

During the visit, CASE Initiative on Impact Investing (CASE i3) and Investors’ Circle brought together investors from organizations such as Calvert Foundation and Alpha Mundi for the Investors’ Circle Investor Forum: Nairobi 2015 and networking event. The event was an opportunity for investors to come together and discuss the global health landscape in Africa and also hear pitches from several healthcare entrepreneurs, including SEAD’s Penda Health.

Next up was an interesting policy roundtable that brought together early-stage organizations and the public sector in Kenya (with representation from the national and county level). Each discussant shared their learning on how to achieve meaningful partnerships. We then had a facilitated discussion where other participants (counties, private sector, innovator support organizations and academia) contributed. One key takeaway is the need for a framework and resources to improve the public/private engagement at the county level and allow new counties to learn. We co-hosted this event with Africa Capacity Alliance (ACA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) that have been working on this topic and the discussion built on their work.

Finally, we organized the first ever SEAD Health Hackathon which ran from the afternoon of Friday 18th September to Sunday the 20th. Sponsored by BD, Merck, Philips, Google Launchpad, Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute (ahti), Strathmore University, iLab Africa, iBiz Africa, and iHub, we had over 100 participants who formed 22 teams and presented 20 innovative ideas.   Check out some of the tweets from the event here:

We’d like to thank all of our corporate sponsors for these events as well as USAID for their support of SEAD.  Amazing stories flowed through these events on the power of collaboration to enhance innovation and the latent opportunity when innovation clusters come together. We will be sharing these stories as we write more about each of these events in the coming weeks.