Gender Lens & Climate Change Healthcare focused Innovations

Healthcare Innovations working at the intersection of Gender and Climate Change


The evidence shows that there is an estimated $ 42 billion financing gap for women entrepreneurs and in providing incubation support for women entrepreneurs in health. This gap is illustrated by:

  • Very few applications for incubation at Villgro Africa come from women-led start-ups.
  • Male -led ventures have raised more follow-up funding and at a much faster rate than women founders.
  • At ecosystem level, women led startups accounted for less than 5% of total VC funding raised in the continent.

Climate change is set to cause unimaginable disruption unless immediate action is taken, and its impacts will disproportionately affect women thus increasing inequality. In many low-income
contexts, women’s livelihoods are more dependent on natural resources threatened by climate change as they tend to work in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and water. Women also have less access to finance, land ownership, education, and health care, which further limit their
capacity to cope with and adapt to climate change.

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).

Very few women apply to the Villgro Africa incubation program in health thus more male-led enterprises continue to benefit from such programs, exacerbating the gender equity gap across the board.

With these assumptions in mind, Villgro Africa will be launching a 2 years gender lens and climate change acceleration program dubbed “Gender Lens & Climate Change Healthcare Focused Innovations Call”. The program will have former and current successful female entrepreneurs as mentors and members of the selection committee.


Who can I contact for questions or clarification?

If you would like to discuss whether yourwork/company/solution is relevant to the Gender Lens & Climate Change Healthcare focused Innovations Call  for East African countries or require any other clarification about the application process, please contact us at, and

Who is eligible for the Gender Lens & Climate Change Healthcare focused Innovations call?

  • Early- and growth-stage health-focused gender lens and climate change innovations with validated proof of concept, recorded revenues and demonstrable potential for growth (Idea-stage
    solutions are not eligible)
  • Representative of the innovations must be a founder/co-founder and be at least 18 years old and citizens/nationals from East Africa with a legal presence on the region.
  • Company must be owned, led, or operated by an East African(s). We define this as having an East 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/solution must be in the intersection of gender and climate change with aim to improve health delivery.
  • Non-profits, consultancies, intermediaries, and consortiums are not eligible.
  • You must show good management and governance.
  • The program has a special focus on gender lens solutions and gender smart (solution catering to women/girls needs) companies operating in East Africa.

What is the deadline for the application?

The deadline is on the 28th February 2023.

Can I apply for Ideas/concepts that have not yet been put into practice as businesses?


Will it cost me to apply?


Who can see the information I submit in the application?

All information submitted may be seen by Villgro 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.

What publicity will there be about my application?

Once companies have been admitted to the program, Villgro Africa may publicise your involvement through communications channels including but not limited to the Villgro Africa’s website, websites of collaboration partners, social media platforms of program partners as well as other public
communications channels.

Can I make more than one application?

Yes, you can make more than one application provided they are for separate businesses/ventures or research if you are involved in both.

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 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 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 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 website (Art. 15 + Art. 20 GDPR – data portability).

What are the application requirements?

Along with filling out the application on VC4A, applicants are encouraged 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 understands the entrepreneurial journey, start-up ecosystem including gender lens/gender smart and climate change specialists.

To ensure equitable representation, the selection committee will include female representation.

The selection committee will meet to select the top startups in the initial screening and harmonise the cohort based on:

  • Gender lens in health and or climate change healthcare focused innovation with potential for health impact and scale (25 points)
  • Gender Lens & Climate Change Healthcare focused 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).
  • Technical proof of concept or demonstrated revenue will be preferred over unproven ideas (15 points).
  • Company is women led or founded (20 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 organization to ensure they are eligible to receive grant funding.

Following due diligence, the cohort will be finalized, and selected innovators informed.

What will you offer to the selected applicants?

  • A bootcamp program where companies will go through a series of capacity building sessions
    and further be guided by mentors.
  • A two-years incubation program.
  • Initial grant funding from Villgro Africa
  • Potential for follow-on funding to promising startups by our partners.

What problems would you like applicants to be solving?

We’re looking for health innovations that are solving East Africa’s toughest healthcare challenges among women and girls at the BoP brought by climate change.

Who are the partners?

Gender Lens & Climate Change Healthcare Focused Innovations call is operationalized by:

Implementing partner: Villgro Africa

Supporting partners: Plan International , and Opes Fund



February 28, 2023
Program dates Feb 2, 2023 - Mar 31, 2025
Organizer Villgro Africa
Website Visit website
Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
Sectors Healthcare
SDG (6)
10. Reduced Inequality, 13. Climate Action, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal, 3. Good Health and Well-being, 5. Gender Equality, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure