Villgro Africa has been at the forefront of empowering entrepreneurs across Africa through seed funding and investments in the health sector. The Indian-based franchise is now celebrating its seven years of impacting change.
The incubator launched in Kenya in 2013, and Villgro rebranded to Villgro Africa in 2020 deciding to go continental. The aim is to support easy access to health care solutions, as they support entrepreneurs who have projects offering solutions.
Villgro Africa co-founder and CEO Wilfred Njagi noted that the firm is championing the betterment of healthcare in Kenya and Africa considering the challenges still faced in the sector which he indicates has been underserved countless times.
“Since its inception, Villgro Africa has enabled access to healthcare to those at the bottom of the pyramid. In the past seven years, Villgro has steadily invested seed funding in social enterprises with homegrown solutions that solve Africa’s healthcare and lifestyle dilemmas,” Njagi said.
In reference to the Abuja declaration, which called for 10% of GDP assigned to healthcare, Mr. Njagi cites the essence of healthcare’s role in mortality rates and life spans of the people.
He added that it’s ironic how Africa is regarded as the third world’s poorest but our health costs are the highest something, he insists, needs to change.
The firm recently launched “The Impact Report” which reveals Kenyan startups received the lion’s share of Villgro Africa’s investments accounting for $1.36 (Sh171 million) out of the $2.14 million (Sh269.6 million) committed since their inception,”
Mr. Njagi said that the most essential support is technical assistance which entails nurturing innovators with solutions to build and grow their businesses.
Villgro Africa co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Robert Karanja in his opinion reiterated his sentiments saying that the issue about healthcare failures is the inability to teach and learn a knowledge economy that can assist academia link with innovation.
“We have reached a moment of urgency in developing solutions that bring down the cost of inventions. That is aimed at re-engineering our technology and building better, from scratch that solves problems at hand,” said Mr. Karanja Robert.
To make this a reality, Villgro Africa has set its eyes on launching an Incubator-Fund Platform in partnership with Jaza Rift Fund, with a target fund size of $30 million (Sh3.8 billion) to support startups graduating from the incubator.
Villgro Africa has supported various startups in the Kenyan and wide Africa region; from Kenya, Bena Care, a firm providing home-based care and Negus Med, an advanced wound care and theatre textiles distribution and manufacturing company where as Ghana has Cowtribe and Ethiopia’s Simbona Africa amongst others.
However, Mr. Karanja calls on lessening bureaucracy and regulations when it comes to matters dealing with healthcare research and steps aimed at advancing and growing the sector. He urged for more investment in the healthcare sector as it is a determinant of the productivity of the people and a major security investment for future generations.