The Libra programme has been designed to support underrepresented founders overcome challenges directly linked to biases, disadvantages and poor representation. To overcome such challenges, the founders of the six-month programme will receive over 60 hours of support and mentoring from world-leading scale coaches. In addition, expert-led workshops and peer-to-peer sessions will cover topics such as raising series A, selling into corporates, scaling your operations and expanding internationally. The cohort will also be introduced to key stakeholders and decision-makers at corporates, investment firms, government bodies and others during networking events.
A significant proportion of the companies contribute to ‘tech-for-good’ or impact tech. For example, Hutano is developing flexible diagnostic tools for disease outbreaks. During the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, Zimbabwe-born founder and CEO Atherton Mutombwera was shocked to learn how many deaths could have been prevented through wider availability of diagnostics across the African continent. There were only 14 centralised laboratories that could diagnose Ebola, the lack of which contributed to the 70% fatality rate. In response, Hutano Diagnostics is developing a modular configurable Lateral Flow Device (LFD) platform. This platform is modular and configurable for either single disease, or simultaneous multiple disease diagnoses, on the same LFD strip. Once developed, the platform reduces the time to LFD development in preparation for future specific disease outbreaks from 2 years to 6 months.