The recently concluded Futurize HealthTech Summit, a collaborative effort between Futurize and AstraZeneca under the A.Catalyst Network, marked a significant milestone in African health technology. Hosted at the Strathmore University Business School in Nairobi, this exclusive event brought together over 120 participants, all committed to advancing the healthtech sector.
The summit facilitated critical dialogues on developing healthtech ecosystems through partnerships between private, public, and academic institutions, underscoring the role of academia in innovation. Jonathan Calder, the Head of Digital & IT, African Cluster at AstraZeneca, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in nurturing a robust healthtech ecosystem, stating, “Fostering a thriving healthtech ecosystem goes beyond individual efforts; it hinges on our ability to connect, share insights, and build upon each other’s strengths”
The event highlighted the essential role of funding in entrepreneurship. Sewu-Steve Tawia, co-founder of Jaza Rift Ventures, shared insights on startup financing, suggesting, “Your second investor is your client, your first is yourself.” This perspective was shared alongside panelists Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani, Robert Karanja, and Dr. Emma Waiyaya, who illuminated the multifaceted nature of startup funding. The summit also served as a significant networking platform, facilitating connections between healthcare startups and potential investors.
A special focus was given to ten startups from the FuturizeU incubator, which demonstrated the successful blend of academic expertise and business acumen through the Fuel Africa Program. Notable innovations included Vectorgram’s advanced AI tools for early breast cancer diagnosis and Tawi Health’s digital solutions to improve healthcare accessibility. Another impressive innovation was MariTest’s bloodless diagnostic device for malaria, utilizing AI and advanced sensor technology.
The summit set a foundation for continued collaboration, inviting policymakers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to contribute to a cohesive ecosystem. Rhea Singhla, co-founder of Futurize, expressed the company’s commitment to sustainable, accessible, and patient-centric solutions in African healthcare innovation. She emphasized the importance of diversifying participation in future events to enhance this momentum.
Caroline Mbindyo’s statement, “Africa is the continent of the future… The future is in our hands,” captured the summit’s aim to Connect, Innovate, and Transform. This sentiment resonates with the overarching goal of the summit, which is to shape a bright future for African health technology through collective efforts and innovative use of technology.