Below is an overview of relevant third-party initiatives in Africa and Europe tackling COVID-19. The initiatives below are regularly being shared with the AEIP tech hub network as well as on the AEIP social media platforms to ensure the tech hub network disseminate the initiatives below with their portfolio startups and encourage them to participate.
Hackathons and funding opportunities:
The #AfricaVsVirus Challenge is a 72-hour global hackathon – or “ideathon” - to help African innovators & entrepreneurs prepare or propose concrete projects & ideas meant to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. The challenge starts on Thursday, 16 April at 6:30 pm CET and runs non-stop through to Sunday, 19 April at 6:30 pm CET. Project ideas or challenges are being accepted until April 15. The challenge is open to African & non-Africans who are invited to come together to address this challenge. Projects have to be realized in Africa with African partners. Winners receive financial and other forms of support. The African Development Bank is hosting the hackathon, and the European Commission is listed as one of the key partners.
EUvsVirus Challenge is a Hackathon that the European Commission will be hosting April 24th - 26th, to connect innovators across Europe to develop innovative solutions to overcome coronavirus-related challenges. It is a call to action to each and everyone to participate in the fight against COVID-19: demonstrate unity for the common good across borders and generations.
Sponsored by AI4D, crowd-solving start-up Zindi (South Africa) has opened a 3-month challenge to the 12,000 registered engineers on its platform to, with the help of AI, create models that use data to predict the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Predictions will be evaluated against future numbers and the winner will receive $5,000. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic and its related consequences in various other economic sectors across the globe, Nigeria and Rwanda cooperate through one Nigeria’s biggest tech-hubs (CcHub) to put out a call to fund and provide research and design support, via its Design Lab, for COVID-19 related projects. This call is supported by the Lagos state Science Research & Innovation Council (LASRIC) and by the African Center for Disease Control & Prevention (Africa CDC). The calls include, but are not limited to, projects in the following areas:
Last-mile communication: educating the public and ensuring the right
information reaches even the most remote locations.
Support for the infected and the most vulnerable in society.
Local production of essential medical supplies
Support for food supply chains, from producers to consumers, in the event of movement restrictions.
Below are third party websites and search engine platforms that have been created specifically to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these online platforms are providing real time updates on COVID-19, others allow innovators to pitch their innovative solutions to COVID-19.
AfriLabs has launched an online platform, covidtech.africa to help inform and empower the African Innovation Ecosystem to navigate the current pandemic. They have mapped activities across the African Tech Ecosystem, from innovations to opportunities and collaborations.
AfriLabs has consolidated this list of 50+ Africa startups developing innovative responses to COVID-19 in multiple sectors from healthtech, medtech, civictech to edtech and fintech. One example is Wellvis, a Nigerian health tech startup has built a triaging web tool for risk assessment, grouping people into low, medium, and high risks. Each risk level is educated on next steps and given an opportunity to chat with a doctor remotely on the Wellvis website. High risk individuals are further advanced to an interface to log their symptoms and monitor if there are changes indicative of COVID-19, in such case, a medical doctor is alerted who connects them to NCDC for testing and isolation should they be positive. For more examples, here is a google form that has mapped relevant African startups and their innovative solutions.
AfricAfxiv is a community led digital archive for African research communication. To tackle COVID 19 they are focusing on streamline processes and interconnect COVID-19 platforms through Googledocs, spreadsheets, wikis, twitter streams, collectives etc, in order to mobilise and consolidated online resources, ideas, and guidelines around the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. In the googledocs, they are consolidating lessons learnt from China and Europe, as well as tracking the outbreak in Africa and looking at its impact at the country level.
REMA Medical Technologies, a platform based in Cotonou, Benin, – and with the assistance of the GreenTec Capital Partners foundation – puts its medical communication tool at the service of African Ministries of Health, free of charge. This exchange network of doctors across the continent will allow the pooling of efforts in the fight against the coronavirus.
#EBNvsCOVID 19 is an initiative launched by EBN to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. EBN members and the companies they support are asked to pitch their initiatives and innovative solutions.
The NEED4HEALTH is an online platform based in Belgium, where healthcare professionals can list their needs regarding COVID-19, and companies can post solutions that can have a positive impact to the current crisis and post crisis.
The Care & Industry together against CORONA is a European online platform that aims to match and facilitate partnerships between innovators and solution seekers (industry, government, NGOs) in the healthcare sector, as well as to be a platform where people can share their initiatives and exchange knowledge.
Tech4Covid19, is a Portuguese online platform bringing together technological innovators to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, it has brought together 4000+ people: engineers, designers, marketers, health professionals, among many other specialised experts, to collaborate on solutions to solve COVID-19 related problems.
The United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (TBLDC) is leading an initiative to establish a technology transfer platform on a voluntary basis aimed at increasing access to critical health technologies in developing countries and is inviting strategic partners in the industry to join this initiative and share its expertise in supporting developing countries to access and manufacture these urgently required COVID19 related products.
This initiative which the Technology Bank is leading, is also supported by UNDP, UNCTAD, WHO and other Agencies including key private sector partners. The Tech Access Partnership (TAP) is a COVID19 technology sharing platform that will facilitate connections between large global or regional manufacturers and local manufacturers in developing countries to share technology, information, and support through a coordinated network. TAP will serve three key roles:
Product Information – a digital warehouse of manufacturing and design specifications, technical knowledge, exclusive intellectual rights, and other information required to scale up capacity.
Technical Guidance – a lifeline of technical support to help manufacturers troubleshoot issues they may encounter as they seek to ramp up production, including information on market dynamics and regulatory hurdles.
Call for EdTech responses to COVID-19: The EdTech Hub's call for ideas that respond to COVID-19 school closures in low and middle-income countries. Selected applicants will have the chance to pitch their ideas to top funders in EdTech from around the world. Find out more: bit.ly/EdtechCOVIDcall
Call for Code: has launched a 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge has expanded to take on COVID-19 in addition to climate change. Innovators and problem solvers are asked submit solutions by July 31, 2020. Call for Code is asking Innovators to create practical, effective and high quality based on one or more IBM cloud services to build solutions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 and climate change.
Grand prize winner – $200,000 USD
First and second – $25,000 USD
Third and fourth – $10,000 USD
IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS), aims to support startups trying to create technology solutions aligned with Circuits and Systems Society goals to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. The winning teams will be invited to join ISCAS 2020 in Seville (11-14 October 2020) and will win grants of up to US$ 10000.
DFID's Frontier Technology Hub is working with a range of partners to identify, highlight and adapt responsible guidance and approaches in lower and middle-income countries that support data protection, digital inclusion, and other key digital practices to fight COVID-19. The deadline is May 18!
GSMA Innovation Fund: Are you an SME or a start-up in sub-Saharan Africa or Asia? Are you helping people get online for the first time using mobile internet? You could be eligible to apply for an equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale innovation over a period of 15-18 months.
Global - MIT Solve is seeking tech innovations that can slow and track the spread of an emerging outbreak. If you have a solution you can apply and get the support of US$1 million in prize funding and nine months of personalized support through the Solver program. Deadline is on 18th June 2020.
Global - The GHS Challenge Fund would allow funding – for immediate COVID-19 preparation and detection, as well as preparation for future pandemic threats to be disbursed in a transparent and comprehensive way, with resources flowing directly to eligible countries.
The COVID-19 Detect & Protect Challenge: Global - The UNDP announces the COVID-19 protect and detect challenge in partnership with Hackster.io to create an open source technology that developing countries can leverage in the fight against the pandemic. Join the challenge!
Vital Capital has launched a new emergency debt facility providing loans to companies to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to offer essential services. This is available in Kenya and Uganda, and will subsequently expand into Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Angola and Senegal.
ITU Innovation Challenges 2020: The challenge is a global open competition platform for innovators and ecosystem builders to present their ideas and projects, empowering them to transform their communities into thriving digital societies
TMLightRoom is a Tentmaker pitch platform that brings together budding entrepreneurs and season investors, mentors and prospective partners to explore an investment, mentorship, partnership and market opportunities of a game changing solution (product/service/idea). This is a platform for the many amazing individuals or entrepreneurs (and investors) seeking to build the confidence, connection and capital to promote and build a brand for available market.
- TMLightRoom Pitch program is a monthly pitch event held virtually with participating entrepreneurs pitching to a team of local and/or international panel for Access to funding, Market, Mentoring, Partnership and/or any other enterprise support for Scaling and/ or Sustainability of entrepreneurial solutions.