In August, the BioEscalator community had the opportunity to meet and share entrepreneurial stories with participants of The Africa Oxford Health Innovation Platform (AfOx-HIP) programme. AfOx-HIP is a University of Oxford multi-disciplinary collaborative platform that helps ideas come to life as real solutions to significant challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The African innovators had gathered at Oxford University's Said Business School for a week-long boot camp to develop new solutions to Africa's health challenges. The boot camp was designed for exceptionally talented young African innovators who had been awarded Innovation Visiting Fellowships at Oxford University. The fellows are all based in Africa, building ventures within their local contexts, characterised by embryonic innovation ecosystems. Projects cover a range of technologies, including therapeutics, vaccines, devices, and diagnostics.
The visiting fellows heard about inspirational start-up journeys from BioEscalator tenants who shared their experiences in talks, workshops, and networking sessions. In turn, the Oxford-based scientists and entrepreneurs were fascinated to learn about groundbreaking healthcare initiatives across Africa. The week of activities culminated in a demo event where ten highly motivated visiting fellows pitched their health innovation start-ups to a panel of judges, which included experienced scientist and serial entrepreneur Geoff Hale of Bioarchitech and BioEscalator Business Manager Claire Shingler.
The quality of the pitches was impressive and addressed a broad range of African healthcare challenges, including advanced wound dressings, novel maternal care furniture, a digital health platform for at-home diagnostic testing, and an app for home exercise therapy.
Claire Shingler, BioEscalator Business Manager, said, "It was a humbling experience to observe the passion with which the African fellows pitched their start-ups, all of which tackle critical unmet needs in African healthcare. It was great to see so many women entrepreneurs on front and centre stage pursuing transformative health delivery."