Global science and technology firm Merck has opened applications for the fourth round of its Nairobi-based e-health accelerator, with four startups to receive business support and up to US$30,000 equity-free funding.
Disrupt Africa reported in January of last year Merck launched its e-health accelerator programme in Nairobi, – the programme already successfully established in Germany – aiming to foster the growth of Africa’s high potential, early-stage e-health startups.
The three month accelerator is now seeking its next cohort of startups in the fields of healthcare, life science, performance materials and digital healthcare.
Merck announced the fourth edition of the programme will be expanded in response to the high volume of quality applications received to previous cycles of the accelerator. As such, four – as opposed to three – startups will be selected.
Selected companies will receive regular mentoring and coaching, office space at Mettā, and financial support of up to US$30,000
“We have been so pleased with the results of the Accelerator teams, and so impressed by the quality of the applications […], that it was a no-brainer to keep expanding this project. This became a top priority last year, when we received 82 per cent more applications to our accelerators than in previous years,” said Michael Gamber, head of the Merck Innovation Centre.
“The diversity and quality of innovations around the world in our key focus areas – healthcare, life sciences and performance materials – is astounding, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming even more young, exciting startups to our Accelerators once again”.
The newly created “Virtual Innovator Academy” will also be available for use by participants throughout the programme. The digital training resource features innovative tools and on-demand training courses, as well as tips and tricks to help founders master their daily challenges.
“When we asked for feedback from our current and previous participants, they wanted flexible access to resources outside of the programme of seminars, workshops and expert mentoring we have in place. To provide this, we have set up the Virtual Innovator Academy as a constantly accessible resource hub for all of our Accelerator participants. They also wanted more support in general business and team management, so we have expanded our core training programme accordingly,” said Gamber.
Those selected to join the accelerator will be given the option to extend their experience by a one-month residency in Silicon Valley to test their business model in the US market.
Applications to the fourth cohort are open here, until June 26.
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