The Artificial Intelligence for Health in Africa (AI4H Africa) program is a collaboration between Villgro Africa, IDRC, AI4D, Africa Oxford Initiative, Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, NVIDIA and I-DAIR to support innovations, policy research, and skills to spur responsible AI development in Africa.
Villgro Africa is an early-stage business incubator and impact investor that supports health, life science and agricultural startups on the African continent to transform product and process innovations into viable, scalable businesses that impact the base of the economic pyramid (BoP).
These partners have come together with the aim of supporting health-focused, African-led AI innovations that will be instrumental in catalyzing the emerging ecosystem towards responsible development of technology, while strengthening the capacity of African innovators with regards to scaling their impact and improving health outcomes.
As part of the initiative, selected innovators will receive funding, focused training and technical support, investor readiness combined within the acceleration program. This has been structured to support these entrepreneurial innovators to develop their ventures with a goal of becoming commercially viable and impactful.
Who is eligible to apply for the AI4H Africa call?
Early- and growth-stage health-focused AI innovations with validated proof of concept, recorded revenues and demonstrable potential for growth.
Representatives of the innovations must be a founder/co-founder of an entity with a legal presence on the continent.
Companies must be owned, led or operated by an African(s). We define this as having an African national with long-term control and management of the business, an equity stake, and an active role in both strategic and day-to-day decision-making.
Business must be AI-enabled and offer data-driven products or services that improve health outcomes.
Must show good management and governance.
Non-profits, consultancies, intermediaries, and consortiums are not eligible.
The program has a special focus on supporting founders who are traditionally excluded, including women-led companies and companies operating in Francophone Africa.
What is the deadline for the application?
The deadline is on the November 11th 2022.
Can I apply for ideas or concepts that have not yet been put into practice as businesses?
Yes. However, your innovation must demonstrate commercial promise. The more evidence you can provide to demonstrate early-stage traction/potential, the better your chances of being selected.
Is there an application fee?
No, there is no fee required to apply.
Who can see the information I submit in the application?
All information submitted may be seen by the AI4H Africa team and collaboration partners, which includes judges and assessors. All members of the program team are bound by confidentiality agreements. We will retain application materials of applicants (including applicants who are not selected) for up to two years.
Can I submit more than one application?
Yes, you can submit more than one application provided they are for separate businesses/ventures or research if you are involved in both.
What publicity will there be about my application?
Once companies have been admitted into the program, AI4H Africa may publicise your involvement through communications channels including but not limited to websites and social media platforms of Villgro Africa and collaboration partners, as well as other public communications channels.
How does VC4A adhere to the guidelines set by General data Protection Regulations (GDPR)?
VC4A’s adherence to guidelines set by GDPR VC4A is a data processor when it comes to applications received and processed via the VC4A.com website. VC4A does not process or use the data itself without explicit consent from the user filling in the application, and otherwise only stores the data on behalf of 3rd parties that use the VC4A.com website to receive and process applications. Under article 17, the right to be forgotten, VC4A has an automated pruning process that deletes all application data after 36 months. Any data added to the VC4A.com website directly, like user data and venture profiles, can be altered (Art. 16) and fully removed (Art. 17) from VC4A systems. VC4A also offers users the ability to download all their data from the VC4A.com website (Art. 15 + Art. 20 GDPR – data portability).
What are the application requirements?
Along with filling out the application on VC4A, applicants are asked to submit the following:
• CVs of core team members (Required)
• An updated company pitch document (Required)
• A link to a 2-minute max video that describes the innovation (Optional)
What is the selection process?
The selection committee will include analysts and judges from both Villgro Africa and partner organisations who understand the entrepreneurial journey and start-up ecosystem, including AI sector specialists.
To ensure equitable representation, the selection committee will include female and Francophone representation.
The selection committee will meet to select the top startups in the initial screening and harmonise the cohort based on:
• AI-based innovation with potential for health impact and scale (25 points)
• AI-based innovation with potential for commercial application (20 points)
• A multidisciplinary team of at least three (3) members e.g., comprising academia and industry/private sector (20 points)
• Align with the principles of Responsible AI (OECD AI principles, Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI and Self-assessment List for AI Developers) design (20)
• Technical proof of concept or demonstrated revenue will be preferred over unproven ideas (15 points).
Following selection by the steering committee, the program coordination team will conduct due diligence on each selected innovator to validate the legal status and charitability of each recommended organisation to ensure they are eligible to receive grant funding. Following due diligence, the cohort will be finalised, and selected innovators informed.
What will you offer to the selected applicants?
• A customized one-year incubation program designed to help scale the innovation toward growth and impact, including access to training, industry experts and mentors.
• Funding to help scale and implement the learnings
• Potential follow-on funding to promising startups by collaboration partners.
What problems would you like applicants to be solving?
AI4H Africa will support companies who bring affordable, high-quality, AI-enabled health products closer to where patients are. We’re looking for innovations that are solving Africa’s toughest health challenges through artificial intelligence.