By Celestine Okorie, Correspondent South Africa
Sankalp Forum, an initiative of Intellecap hosted its 8th Edition of the Sankalp Africa Summit, in a virtual format, from the 2nd to 4th March 2021, one of Africa’s largest inclusive networking platform focusing on entrepreneurship and the impact investing ecosystem.
Some of the key highlights of the summit include the awarding of the top three most innovative young entrepreneurs in Africa and sharing of sector insights on, rebuilding a resilient universally accessible health system capable of rapidly detecting, assessing, reporting; rebuilding robust local institutions in Africa to attain globally competitive levels post COVID-19, and eliminating social and economic injustices to improve equity across humans.
Each year, the Summit recognizes and rewards high-impact enterprises in the Africa region that are keen to tackle key development challenges. The finalists get the opportunity to pitch their enterprises to a jury panel comprising eminent business leaders and investors. This year’s finalists were Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Center, MamaPrime, and KIRI EV from Kenya; EcoV and Iyeza Health from South Africa; OBRI from Tanzania; Masaka Creamery from Rwanda; and MaTontine from Senegal.
The 2021 Sankalp Africa Awards winner was Iyeza Health, a healthcare start-up from South Africa that collects and delivers high-cost and critical chronic medication for Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV), diabetes and cancer treatment drugs from public health facilities to patient’s doorsteps through a bicycle delivery service. The service is called Iyeza Express.
In Cape Town, poor national infrastructure has often left the burden of obtaining medication from health facilities to individual patients. As a result, those in rural areas go without medication for weeks at a time. However, with Iyeza Express, a single courier can transport several boxes at a time thus increasing the capacity to deliver the drugs to more patients at a faster rate and save lives. Currently, Iyeza delivers medication to over 1000 people in Khayelitsha, Cape Town and employs local residents as specialised chronic medicine delivery service. The company aims to become a fully-fledged health logistics company that offers access to self-testing diagnostics devices that encourage screening, and early detection of disease in communities, and offer alternative distribution and supply chain channels for health products thus change the face of public health in South Africa.
The First Runner Up emerged as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Center), a Kenya electronic waste management start-up. WEEE offers the safe disposal of electrical and electronic waste (e-Waste) service in accordance with NEMA waste regulations, training on the safe e-waste handling, storage, disposal methods, and their adverse effects on the public health and environment if not properly disposed of. WEE’S goal is to run an enterprise that protects both the environment and public health.
The Second Runner Up was OBRI Tanzania, an Agri-Food start-up from Tanzania that focuses on processing and supplying healthier edible oils. The company produces a 100 per cent natural low price sunflower cooking oil called OBRI that is supplied to millions of families across the country. They also work with local farmers directly to source the seeds and promote fair price trade, offer seed crushing services to manufacturing companies for oil and oil cake extraction, and train farmers on organic manure use and sustainable land management to achieve the production of high-quality seeds.
“Sankalp Forum is one of our largest initiatives that aims to bring the community together to help solve the problems that face us through cutting-edge innovation and high potential entrepreneurship. Sankalp today, in its 8th year in Africa, brought to the world a post COVID view of economic resurgence and resilience, thereby demonstrating our ability to drive action and influence outcomes,” said Sankalp Lead and AVP Intellecap Africa, Arielle Molino.
The Summit, which was held virtually engaged over 1,200 stakeholders, from 40+ countries around the world, including participants from 30 African countries.
Some of the key renowned speakers that the summit attracted include President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trade and Development Bank Admassu Tadesse, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Deputy Executive Director, International Trade Centre Dorothy Tembo, VP Finance and Corporate Services from ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) Dr Mabouba Diagne, Director of Partnerships and Communications, Tony Elumelu Foundation Somachi Chris-Asoluka, Regional Director East and Southern Africa, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Sara Mbago-Bhunu and Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, of World Resources Institute Wanjira Mathai and Writer, editor, broadcaster and literary critic Margaret Busby, among others.