Open Call for Digital Entrepreneurs in Africa

July 14, 2022 by PATH

PATH's Digital Square is pleased to announce its first call for digital entrepreneurs based in Africa interested in working in the health sector. This call seeks to connect local solutions to financial assistance, technical resources, and opportunities to scale for innovative entrepreneurs.  

"We want to strengthen our engagement with countries by working closely with local actors to advocate the adoption and use of global goods. We are looking forward to discovering local innovations that meet an unmet global health need and, through our global goods community, work with local organizations to support them on their journey to scale," said Carl Fourie, Deputy Director of Global Goods at Digital Square. 

With initial funding from the Bayer Foundation and USAID, the Digital Health Ecosystem project (DHE) will support the sustainability and expansion of digital tools for health by changing how they are built, deployed, and scaled. This opportunity will provide a platform to foster a global network of independent teams collectively building on a common open-source platform. By doing so, developers will have a proven, economically viable digital foundation for their applications.  

“Local innovators are in touch with the contexts and realities of low-resource settings. With support from our donors and partners, innovators will now face fewer barriers in scaling businesses that support health care workers and communities with tools to improve the quality, speed, and access of equitable care,” said Leah Ekbladh, Senior Strategy Manager at PATH leading the DHE project.  

The call for Expression of Interest (EOI) is open to innovative African start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, for-profit and non-profit organizations, and individual social entrepreneurs. Applicants should be interested in applying and expanding their software, content, and/or services to the health sector. 

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to:  

  • Become part of a continent-wide list that will be shared with donors, investors, and implementing partners globally.  
  • Be alerted to 3rd party funding opportunities. 
  • Pending the availability of resources, Digital Square will offer an organizational capacity self-assessment tool that supports organizations in becoming direct recipients of international funding sources.  

Additionally, a subset of respondents will be invited to participate in a DHE-funded request for application. Successful applicants in the request for application round will: 

  • Have access to financial capital required to develop, deploy and implement scalable digital health products. This financial support will initially be through a grants program and later through a partnership with existing donor programs and government co-investment. 
  • Gain visibility into existing developer communities that exist for co-learning and collaboration. 
  • Know what open source health tools exist and what is available for adaptation and could save time and resources in local development 
  • Have support in adapting open source solutions—even and especially from digital public goods 
  • Gain increased visibility in the global health development sector 
  • Grow stronger in their business and operational capabilities and sustainability, as well as their technical ones. 

Those not selected for the initial round of grants but who apply to the EOI will automatically be considered for future funding rounds. Specifically, Digital Square and Country Health Information Systems and Data Use program may use this list to identify partners for country digital transformation work and, in parallel to making programmatic grants, will support entrepreneurs to become direct recipients of USAID funds. 

Digital Square partners with innovators to increase the availability, adaptability, and maturity of high-quality software, service, and content options to address country-driven health needs. 

More details on the objectives, expected outcomes, eligibility criteria, and how to apply are available in the full document here.

The deadline for submission of entries is Friday, August 12, 2022, at 11:59 pm (GMT +7). Applicants will receive a response by September 30, 2022.