Johnson & Johnson opens entries for Africa Innovation Challenge 2

Africa-based entrepreneurs and innovators can now submit entries for this year’s Johnson and Johnson Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0.

Participants can submit ideas in six categories of Mental Health, Consumer Packaging, Botanical Solutions, Health Worker Support, Digital Health Tools and Essential Surgery.

“Winners with the best solutions will receive up to 50,000 dollars in funding and mentorship from the global network of scientists, engineers and business managers within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to help bring their ideas to market.

“This second continent-wide competition encourages ideas for innovative technologies, products and solutions that have the potential to create positive impact and address significant threats to Africa’s healthcare systems and environment,’’ it said.

For the Botanical Solutions, naturally-derived plant-based solutions that tap into traditional knowledge and deliver consumer health and wellness benefits through topical application are required.

The Packaging Innovations category seeks sustainable innovations for packaging of single-dose units and other affordable product sizes that will reduce or eliminate waste, while protecting the product.

On Mental Health, the challenge seeks innovations that create awareness for mental illness as a public health problem and offer solutions for patients, caregivers and their communities.

For Health Worker Support area, innovations that support the wellbeing and resilience of nurses, midwives and community health workers at the heart of delivering care is being looked out for.

On Digital Health Tools, the challenge seeks digital tools (including apps and other mobile/web/data enabled tech) that can inform, educate, communicate and connect people to treatment, support and care through their reach and information and improve health outcomes, especially for women.

Areas of HIV, TB, Mental Health, Maternal Health and Ebola having especially large impact particularly on women and will have great impact on health outcomes.

Essential Surgical Care category requires innovations that promote access to timely, safe, and skilled surgical care.

Dr Josh Ghaim, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said in a statement: “The growing number of innovation hubs throughout Africa is sparking a new generation of entrepreneurs.

“These new generation of entrepreneurs are innovating and finding new solutions for issues facing their communities.

“Our goal with the second Africa Innovation Challenge is to expand our support for the region’s entrepreneurs by pushing the boundaries of creative solutions to meet several areas of urgent need,’’ said Ghaim, a member of the Johnson & Johnson Research & Development Management Committee.

Also, Seema Kumar, Vice-President, Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson, said: “At Johnson & Johnson, we believe a great idea can come from anyone, anywhere.

“We work with entrepreneurs around the world to relentlessly pursue innovations that advance and enhance the health of everyone, everywhere.

“This is an exciting time to be part of Africa’s rapidly advancing innovation ecosystem, which recognises that people and patients across the continent are waiting for urgent solutions.

“The Africa Innovation Challenge provides an important platform to support emerging entrepreneurs and help accelerate the development of unique, sustainable healthcare and environmental solutions,’’ he said.