Villgro Africa, an impact investor that inspires, nurtures, and scales innovation by offering customized technical assistance and investments to early stage social entrepreneurs in Africa today celebrated its 5th anniversary as they go beyond their boundaries to serve the rest of Africa.
The last five years since inception, through the social enterprises they support, Villgro Africa has enabled access to healthcare to those at the bottom of the pyramid. They have successfully supported 21 enterprises, provided Seed funding of $ 1 million which has enabled the enterprises to generate revenues of $2.2 million, touching 2 million lives.
According to Villgro’s co-founder, Dr. Robert Karanja “Africa’s lion economies, though among the fastest growing economies in the world are not lifting the masses out of poverty. It is estimated that by 2023, Africa’s share of the world’s poverty stricken will rise from 60% in 2016 to over 80%. It is therefore important for governments and development actors to understand how we can “spring” the poverty-disease trap and reverse this social dynamic. Eleven percent of Africans’ experience catastrophic spending for health care every year, while as many as 38 percent delay or forgo health care due to high costs
As part of the fight against Covid19 pandemic, Villgro funded 11 innovative startups that have made significant contributions to Kenya’s health system resilience. One of this companies, Rescue (a Villgro Kenya grantee), joined hands with Bolt, the Ministry of Health, University of Nairobi, AMREF, Nairobi County, and several other partners to deploy the “Wheels For Life” initiative to help pregnant mothers quickly seek help and access free emergency transport to hospitals, especially during dusk to dawn curfew hours.
There are partners who have supported Villgro’s journey “We invest in local partners like Villgro to support the ecosystem believing that invention-based, small and growing business can fill the gap by advancing locally developed solutions to health, agricultural and environmental., says Carol Dahl, Executive Director, the Lemelson Foundation.
We value our partnership with Villgro because we have been impressed by Villgro’s ability to identify successful range of compelling entrepreneurs to address some of the social economical challenges and build highly effective incubator for healthcare related businesses, says Nicholas Colloff, Director, Argidius Foundation.
Villgro is now boldly scaling into Africa, according to Mr Wilfred Njagi, CEO and Co-Founder of Villgro, “As we look into the future, the tail winds are now on our side to scale our impact across the African continent. In the next 5 years, we will be scaling deep, scaling wide and scaling equitably. Part of scaling broad will be taking on a bold initiative to collaborate with local and regional hubs in joint incubation initiatives, while scaling wide will be deepening the level of support offered to enterprises. Nicholas Collof, Director Argidius Foundation adds that
While most of Villgro’s strength has been in increasing equitable access to health care especially to the most vulnerable groups, Villgro is not only going beyond geographical boundaries but will also venture to other sectors and partnerships in supporting innovations and entrepreneurs in areas such as food security and water sanitation in line with SDG 2 and SDG 6.