Villgro Kenya to present at SANBio Annual Event 2018

February 23 2018

Jackson Mwatha(inset) from Villgro Kenya will be a panelist at the SANBio Annual Event 2018 which will be held on 27th-28th February 2018, at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria, South Africa. This year’s theme for the annual event is “Finding Solutions Through Technology Innovations”

The NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) provides a shared research, development and innovation platform for collaborative research in health and nutrition. Each year, NEPAD SANBio with the support of the BioFISA II Programme hosts a networking event for regional and international stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues in the region and this year, commercialisation of research technologies is the central theme with dialogue on new ways of innovating for the future in the biosciences, cultural changes in the research environment toward entrepreneurship, the role of data and technology in health and nutrition, infrastructure for innovation, and future trends and funding models.

Jackson will be one of the panelist for the session: New models, new funding, exploring the opportunities for spinoff and start up founders. The key issue for this session is: Exploring how different funders can support start-ups and spinoffs in the commercialisation phase.

Jackson is a Corporate Finance professional with vast experience in the East African capital markets having executed a spectrum of assignments involving Capital Raising Advisory and Management Consulting (Financial Modeling, Market Research, Strategic Planning and Investment Advisory) in private and public sectors. At Villgro Kenya, he heads the financial advisory efforts that are aimed at assisting portfolio companies solidify their business models (investment theses) and become investment ready. For more information on the event visit the official SANBio Annual Event 2018 Webpage.

Biography: Professor Yunus Muhammad

February 21 2018

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of microcredit, the father of social business, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, the Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as “one of 12 greatest entreprenuers of our time”

Professor Yunus was born in Bangladesh in 1940. In 1965, he received Fulbright Scholarship to study Economics at Vanderbilt University, USA, and did his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969.

Professor   Yunus   returned   to   Bangladesh   in   1972   and   joined   the   Department   of Economics, University of Chittagong, as its chairman. In 1976, Professor Yunus started to experiment  with  providing  collateral  free  loans  to  the poor.  The  project  was  called Grameen Bank Project and later, in 1983, became a full-fledged bank for providing loans to  the  poor,  mostly  women,  in  rural  Bangladesh.  Today  Grameen  Bank  has  over  8.4 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women and disburses over one and a half billion US dollars each year.

In  2006,  Professor  Yunus  and  Grameen  Bank  were  jointly  awarded  the  Nobel  Peace Prize.

Professor  Muhammad  Yunus  is  the  recipient  of  more  than  50  honorary  degrees  from universities  across  20  countries.  He  has  received  112  awards  from  26  countries including state honours from 10 countries.

He is one of seven individuals to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom and the United States Congressional Gold Medal. Other notable awards include the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1984), World Food Prize (1994), International  Simon  Bolivar  Prize  (1996),  Sydney  Peace  Prize  (1998),  The  Prince  of Austurias Award for Concord (1998) and Seoul Peace Prize (2006).

The concept  of  social  business,  which  he  introduced  into  the  economic  framework,  is defined  as  a  company  dedicated  to  solving  social  problems,  such  as healthcare,    education,    sanitation,    water    pollution,  unemployment,    environmental degradation, etc.. Since 2006, Professor Yunus has focused on spreading and implementing the concept of “social business”—companies created for social good rather than private profit— through Yunus Social Business - Global Initiatives.

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, invited Professor Yunus to serve as an MDG Advocate. He sits on the Board of United Nations Foundation, Schwab Foundation, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Grameen Credit Agricole Microcredit Foundation and  Chirac  Foundation.  He  is  one  of  the  founding  members  of  The  Elders.  Professor Yunus  serves  as  Nobel  Laureate  in  Residence  at  the  Universiti  Kebangsaan  Malaysia (National University of Malaysia).

Professor  Yunus  was  chosen  by Wharton School  of  Business  as  one  of  'The 25  Most Influential Business Persons of the Past 25 Years'. AsiaWeek (Hong Kong) selected him as one of “Twenty Great Asians 1975 – 1995).” Ananda Bazaar Patrika (India) selected Professor Yunus as one of “Ten Great Bengalis of the Century (1900 – 1999).”

In 2006, Time magazine listed Professor Yunus under "60 years of Asian Heroes" as one of the top 12 business leaders. In 2008, in an open online poll, Yunus was voted the 2nd top most  intellectual  person  in  the  world  on  the  list  of  Top  100  Public  Intellectuals  by Prospect   Magazine   (UK)   and   Foreign   Policy   (United   States).   In   2010,   The   New Statesman (UK) listed him as one of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures”.

Professor Yunus has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, Hardtalk on BBC and The Simpsons. He has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and Newsweek. In   June   2012,  Professor   Yunus   was   named   Chancellor   of   Glasgow   Caledonian University.

On Google+, Professor Yunus is one of the most followed person worldwide, with over 2 million followers.


#Okoamama Hack4Life Hack-a-thon

July 13 2016

Villgro Kenya in collaboration with Gearbox presents the #Okoamama Hack4Life hack-a-thon that would be held from August 19th to August 21st, 2016. 

The hackathon aims to bring the power of innovation to maternal and child healthcare using a multi-disciplinary approach. 

Across the globe 33% of people living in urban areas live in informal urban settlements (slums) and are often unable to access the health care that they need. This problem is especially large for expectant mothers and babies in slums. From lack of nutrition, to lack of education, to lack of ambulances, mothers and children face many different challenges in order to access health care.

Through the Hack4Life hackathon, we envision solutions that are technically feasible, socially responsible and entrepreneurially sustainable, will be developed.

If you know of any creative and innovative individuals who are excited to find solutions to some of these problems,encourage them to apply

We will need individuals from the following three sectors:

  • Health: Doctors, Nurses, Public Health Workers, Clinicians, Scientists ...
  • Technology: Engineers, Technicians, Designers, Inventors ...
  • Business: Entrepreneurs, Small Business Developers ...


Nine Innovators Show Off Hardware Solutions For All 7 Billion Of Us

July 07 2016

The nine teams of socially-minded tech innovators have been selected from a pool of applicants to demonstrate products that offer the potential to remedy environmental, economic, and social problems afflicting the globe. Three winners will share $50,000 in prize money from The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which held the 2016 ISHOW event in India on April 28 and scheduled the final event in Washington, D.C. for June 15th (USA). 

“ASME launched ISHOW because research shows the lack of support for hardware innovators seeking entre into global markets,” said Julio C. Guerrero, president of ASME. “The products in the competition all demonstrate the potential for making a social and environmental impact, while showcasing the creativity and ingenuity of tomorrow’s engineering problem-solvers and business leaders.”

In the competition, the contestants showed prototypes and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges that included successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, business mentors, industry representatives, product designers and engineers. They outlined designs, market research, user testing, manufacturing plans and business models.

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information, visit

About ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW)

The ASME ISHOW is a global competition for hardware led social innovation. Applicants must have a prototype and be taking a physical product to market that will have a social or environmental impact. Finalists are invited to an ASME Innovation Showcases in India, Kenya or the USA and receive advice from industry experts and investors. Three winners are selected at each location to share $50,000 in cash and a design and engineering reviews delivered by industry experts. The ASME ISHOW is sponsored by The Lemelson Foundation and the ASME Foundation. For more information, visit

E4I Challenge - Health Novelty

July 06 2016

We are excited to announce the 6th Edition of the E4I Challenge-Health Novelty, to be held on July 22nd, 2016 at Tangaza University College. The Challenge is a special opportunity to engage the most creative minds in public health, medicine and technology, and explore ideas to solve the most pressing challenges in healthcare.

The challenge is an occasion for the final round candidates to pitch their business ideas or models in front of a jury composed of investors, Banks, business advisory providers, incubators, lead entrepreneurs and members of the academia to demonstrate the viability of their idea/ business model, innovation, scalability, strength of the entrepreneurial team and the social impact of the enterprise.

The competition will challenge you to stretch your thinking boundaries. The impact entrepreneurs in this field are building innovation hubs in the region, crowdsourcing humanitarian response, driving policy and using innovative technology to drive health service delivery. They are rethinking malaria prevention, or building medical devices out of broken toys and using boats, motorcycles, and mobile phones to provide health care. They are using film and photography to change mindsets, visualizing data to make people pay attention, and sharing their ideas, and designs to achieve great milestones in healthcare.

Put differently, it is a regional challenge of unparalleled diversity where innovators present original solutions to the most pressing local and global healthcare challenges.

Other than the Health care focus, the overall E4I Challenge will be clustered into five more categories: Agribusiness, ICT & Mobile Tech, Green energy & Waste management, Education & Training and Business Services.

E4I Challenge-Health Novelty appeals to a broad target audience including: Early-stage start-ups, health care entrepreneurs, Venture-funds, Health sector experts, Physicians, Hospitals, Healthcare insurance companies, Foundations, Non-profits, medical and Public Health Students.

E4I Challenge-Health Novelty Prize: The overall winner of the Challenge will win a full scholarship worth Kshs 420,000 for the E4Impact MBA at Tangaza, Incubation space at Villgro Kenya for the top 2 health finalists and Prize money award for the top 3 finalists by CFH.

Practical Information: Innovators are invited to register at:

Deadline being June 29th, 2016

If you would wish to attend this event as a participant register at Only 150 spots are available and registration will close soon as this number is reached.

About Tangaza University College:

Tangaza University College, a constitute college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa is an institution of higher learning fully committed to high academic excellence with a strong praxis on Social Transformation. Through its entrepreneurship program in social entrepreneurship it is changing the education landscape in Kenya by training impact entrepreneurs with a triple bottom line: social, environmental and financial sustainability thus providing the much needed jobs to Kenyan youths and women. Learn more at

About E4Impact Foundation:

E4Impact Foundation, launched in 2015 by Securfin, Mapei, Salini-Impregilo, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the Association Always Africa, has the objective of enhancing the sustainable development of fast growing economies by supporting the training of impact entrepreneurs and their businesses. Learn more at

About Vilgro Kenya:

Villgro Kenya is inspiring a new wave of innovative thinking to the deep rooted global health challenges in Africa. A franchise of Villgro Innovations Foundation that has supported over 100 invention-based entrepreneurs to create over 1000 jobs and impact over 6.8 million people in rural India through innovation, Villgro Kenya is bringing global health innovations to market through impact funding and social entrepreneurship interventions for market-led and sustainable health impacts in Kenya and the East African Community bloc.

Working at the interface of science and industry, Villgro Kenya brings over 30 years worth of experience in R&D/academia and entrepreneurship in the region that is relevant to global health technology development and go-to market strategies. Our partnerships and networks span across the product development, commercialization and scale to leverage local and foreign investments for global health impact in the region. Villgro Kenya is supported by the Lemelson Foundation. Learn more at:

About Capacities for Health:

Capacities for Health exist to tackle healthcare challenges in Africa through Trainings, Medical Placements, Innovations, and knowledge generation. Learn more at:


East Africa Innovation Workshop and Boot Camp

May 17 2016

East Africa is fast becoming recognized as a Continental leader in innovation. Our governments are looking to strengthen their economies by building capabilities in many areas of technology, information and culture. Similarly, the private sector is looking at competitive ways to succeed in local, regional, and global markets by developing innovations that provide solutions to drive improvements in communication, create efficiencies in healthcare provision and delivery, address challenges in agriculture and the environment. A number of research and innovation hubs as well as incubator organizations are leveraging the talent, innovative culture and increasing resources for knowledge-based industries in the region.

Learn more here

Call for mentors

April 07 2016

What do we expect from Mentors?

  • Villgro Kenya’s mentors are leading business professionals who offer their time and skills to help new entrepreneurs navigate their most pressing business challenges. From raising financing to ironing out the business plans to creating and negotiating term sheets, mentors play a critical role in supporting entrepreneurs who are working to create sustainable businesses that also improve the lives of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
  • Mentors will be challenged to put their know-how within the context of the cultures and businesses they will guide. The engagement can be a unique win-win for both the social entrepreneur and the mentor.

What do we look for in our mentors?

  • Experienced business professional: At least 15 years of business experience with proven success in specific sector/function.
  • Should have been an entrepreneur himself/herself.
  • Must commit to at least two hours per week.
  • Be willing to visit the entrepreneur in the field.
  • Comfortable with communicating via phone/email.
  • Must be located in Nairobi or preferably to close proximity to entrepreneur’s location
  • A strong motivation and stated desire to mentor early stage entrepreneurs.
  • A commitment to support and guide the social entrepreneur.
  • Actively explore and ask probing questions; listen to the entrepreneur and the business.
  • Help the social entrepreneur through practical solutions that are realistic to implement and achieve.
  • Ability to focus on the social entrepreneur; appreciate and value the social entrepreneur, their business and culture.
  • Should be positive and cheer on the social entrepreneur's growth and work.
  • Ability to challenge and push the social entrepreneur and their vision for scale and creating positive impact.

Health Care Innovation Challenge

November 12 2015

HealthCare Innovation Challenge (HCIC) brings together engineers, clinicians, designers, business people, students and others to tackle and build innovative solutions for the biggest challenges in health and healthcare. Organized by African Garage, UNISCOO and VilGRO Kenya, HCIC brings together the academic, industry, pharmaceutical, startup and student communities to collaborate to solve problems of immense importance.

Read the full article here

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