Innovate Now Cohort 2.0

Africa's 1st Assistive Technology Venture Accelerator


In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, we have gone virtual and expanded the theme of Innovate Now Cohort 2.0 to include mobile solutions that assist persons with disabilities with access to information and resources in times of emergency such as the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
Innovate Now cohort 2.0 will now be entirely online and accepted applicants can participate from anywhere in Africa.

We have extended application deadline to 15th June 2020! Hurry and submit your application before new deadline. 
THEMES-Mobile and AT:
  1. Bridging the access gap to Assistive Products and Services using mobile technologies
  2. Bridging access to information, services and resources for persons with disabilities in times of national and international difficulties such as pandemic 


  1. Duration: 3 months
  2. Location: online

Who can Apply? Our Eligibility Criteria:

  • Geography: Africa
  • Stage: Seed-stage ventures past proof-of-concept with MVP and some traction (e.g. users, paying customers, working product)
  • Sector: AT and mobile-focused Startup ventures
  • Legal Entity: Both for-profit and non-profit social enterprises registered in any African country or with demonstrated presence in Africa
  • Inclusive Participation: Persons with disabilities and women highly encouraged to apply.
  • Age: Applicants must be of legal working age (18 years) or guaranteed by a guardian of legal working age. They must have all the legal rights to work in their country.

Who are we looking for?

  1. The best of mobile-focused innovation-driven ventures bridging access to assistive technology and the best mobile-focused ventures targeted to persons with disabilities in their access to information, resources and help in times of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Addressing a relevant problem within the Innovate Now Cohort 2 themes?
  3. A team of innovative, execution focused-agile problem solvers?
  4. Do you have a passion for making a significant impact on the lives of persons with disabilities through a sustainable and scalable venture?
  5. Led by an authentic founder(s)?
  6. Have a culture of empathy, continuous learning and problem
  7. Structured in a functional and efficient team (defined ownership, commitment, roles and accountability) and organisation (systems, processes and resources)?

If the above describes your team, we are looking for you! Innovate Now will select 12 outstanding startup teams to join our second cohort.

What will you Get?

  • Access to global mentors and subject matter experts
  • Access to our growing network of virtual Live-Labs-A unique concept that allows you to test, get feedback and validate directly with persons with disabilities.
  • Technical Assistance: tangible, direct support relating to what’s needed for your startup succeed: legal, marketing, fundraising, experimental design, pitching, and investor readiness.
  • Access to our global inclusive innovation ecosystem and partner network across organizations of persons with disabilities, universities, funders, Assistive Technology experts, disability experts, inclusive design experts, corporates and NGOs.
  • Access to Investor readiness support and our funding ecosystem e.g. AT2030 Scale Fund

Terms and conditions:


  1. Applicants will be subject to the Innovate Now Selection process by a panel of expert judges.
  2. By applying, participants agree to be bound by the decision and rules of the program.
  3. All applications must be submitted through the official registration form on the Innovate Now website.
  4. All applications must be submitted by 8th June 2020 at 12 midnight Kenyan time.
  5. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  6. All applications must be submitted in English.


  1. The selection process will be two-step:
    a) Stage 1: online shortlisting
    b) Stage 2: online Interview Selection
  2. A team of expert judges will evaluate and will shortlist a total of 20 applicants based on eligibility criteria and application form responses.
  3. The shortlist of 20 will proceed to stage 2: the final interview where a maximum of 12 teams will be selected to join Innovate Now Cohort 2.
  4. All teams must participate online in stages 1 and 2 selection.

Acceptance into the Programme

  • Applicants will only be accepted if they comply or consent to comply with any mandatory standards, especially AT related WHO standards.
  • Selected applicants will be notified no more than a week after the final interview.
  • Selected applicants will be issued a letter of acceptance which they will be required to sign in duplicate.
  • Accepted applicants will be issued with a welcome pack containing information about all program activities, curriculum, and process.


  • Participants will not be charged any money to participate, and meals and refreshments will be provided during program activities.
  • Persons with disabilities will be reimbursed for any additional costs they have to bear to participate in the program to reduce barriers to equal participation in the program.

Equity and IP

  • All IP related to the participant: business, product, and or solution belongs to the applicant. Applicants will be encouraged and supported to safeguard their IP. Such IP shall not be copied, used, or distributed without the consent of the participant.
  • All IP related to content and material provided during orientation, training, program activities, and mentoring session belonging to innovate now will not be copied or distributed without permission from the Innovate Now project team.

Agreement and Consent

  • All applicants will sign a consent form agreeing to the terms and conditions of the program before joining.
  • Participants consent to be recorded and photographed during the accelerator program.

About Assistive Technology

Assistive Products can be defined as Products that maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, thereby promoting their well-being. These include wheelchairs, hearing aids, and communications aids, among others.

Assistive Technologies, on the other hand, refers to an umbrella term covering the systems and services related to the delivery of assistive products and services.

About Innovate Now

Innovate Now is Africa’s 1st Assistive Technology Innovation Accelerator and Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem. It comprises a series of 3-6 month-long accelerator programs that support Assistive Technology venture across: design, product development, disability expertise, and business expert. We focus on helping startups overcome the Valley of Death: Prove product-market fit and demonstrate the demand and ultimately attract investors in order to deliver better outcomes for AT users.

The Innovate Now assistive technology accelerator is supported by a series makerthons (ideation, design and prototyping hackathons), live-labs (network persons with disabilities that support problem validation, testing and customer validation) and the inclusive innovation ecosystem (network of funders, business and AT mentors, AT2030 disability inclusion programs and partners).

Innovate Now is part of the Spark Innovation Sub-program of AT2030-Life Changing Assistive Technology for All, a £20 million led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub in partnership with partners worldwide across the UK, Africa and India. Innovate Now aims at helping to launch 60-80 new AT ventures through targeted world-class venture acceleration support, live-labs network for building and testing with persons with disabilities and a mentor network of local and international business, AT and disability experts.

Our Inaugural cohort is already supporting 5 Kenyan-based startups innovating around new products and services including new electric wheelchair models for low income, rural and city use in Africa, eye testing and glasses fitting using youth as a distribution platform and advanced mobile eye testing kits, obstacle detection and navigation for the blind and new-design toilet commode of the old or mobility impaired in household, rural and or slum settings.

AT2030 is also setting up a £4 million Scale Fund to help AT ventures in our Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem scale to East Africa. Innovate Now will inspire the establishment of Africa’s leading innovation hub for Inclusive Innovation and Assistive Technology in Kenya. It is an initiative of the Global Disability Innovation Hub in partnership with Amref Health Africa.


June 15, 2020
Program dates Jun 24 - Sep 24, 2020
Organizer Amref Health Africa
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Sectors EdTech, Healthcare, HealthTech, Mobile