By Brian Yatich
General Electric (GE) in collaboration with Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship has launched a Mother and Child Programme in nine African countries in a bid to accelerate health innovations.
The programme dubbed ‘healthymagination’ which kicked off today seeks to tackle problems of maternal and child mortality and at the same time support African Social Entrepreneurs operating in the health sector.
The initiative has selected 17 African social entrepreneurs from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia in a three day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.
The three-day event is designed to help the social entrepreneurs acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes, and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.
According to Jay Ireland, GE Africa president and CEO, he said that the Social innovations and entrepreneurs in the health sector have in recent years yielded sustainable solutions to some of the world’s biggest health challenges.
“It is for this reason that the programme is focusing on trainingand mentoring social entrepreneurs working on increasing the quality, access and affordability of maternaland child health in sub-Saharan Africa, thereby enabling more women and children to experience betterhealth.” he added.
Thane Kreiner, executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship said that despite major gains made globally in maternal and child mortality, the levels in sub-Saharan Africa remain unacceptably high.
“This GE and Miller Center collaboration takes an innovative and highly practical approach to combating this challenge, by providing African social entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to expand the positive impact of their interventions,” he said.
The initial workshop will be followed by a six-month, online accelerator programme, where mentorship will be provided by high-profile Silicon Valley-based executives who have themselves undergone mentorship training by Miller Center.
This accelerator and mentorship programme will focus on a “Premier Pitch” event in Africa where the 17 participants will present their respective enterprises to an audience of potential investors.
This training and mentoring is focussed on Silicon Valley entrepreneurial principles with venture impact investing utilizes Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute methodology, which has been proven and refined through 12 years of working with more than 570 social enterprises worldwide.
Participants will also be introduced to GE’s portfolio of products for them to gain specialized support and training on technologies and resources for the maternal and child health sector.