Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, has called on innovators in Africa to adopt viable business models for their enterprises to ensure growth and sustainability.
Speaking during a two-day training workshop for social entrepreneurs, Eduardo Lioy, the firm’s Director Corporate Strategy Development, said the firm has invested heavily in training innovators and social entrepreneurs especially in human and animal health in an effort to tackle unmet human and animal health needs.
The ‘Making More Health’ (MMH) Accelerator programme was launched last year and brings together African social entrepreneurs, Ashoka, an innovators platform and Boehringer Ingelheims’ leaders from around the globe to brainstorm on ways to enhance the start-ups business models and identify opportunities for strategic collaboration to improve human and animal health. The programme also aims to review and improve social entrepreneurs’ business models as well as identifying opportunities for partnerships.
“The “co-creation” approach used in the workshop is one of the key tools in realising its mission of establishing a network of financially sustainable social ventures. Co-creation is about bringing together diverse people and ideas and allowing them to learn from each other while challenging and improving innovative solutions, increasing their chances of success, “said Eduardo.
The programme has pooled innovators from Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria who are working on animal and human health programmes in rural areas in their respective countries. The social ventures will proceed to a pilot phase over the next six months where they will develop a minimum viable product specific to their market needs. It will then culminate in the social entrepreneurs pitching at Boehringer Ingelheim’s headquarters for scale up funding.
Through the Accelerator programme, Boehringer Ingelheim seeks to build a network of financially sustainable social enterprises in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana so as to expand their outreach in remote areas.
Sara Jefferson, Senior Change Maker Manager, Making More Health, Ashoka added: “Further to core business and leadership skills that these workshops provide within the accelerator, we are working across multiple disciplines to ensure that the dreams of these entrepreneurs are materialised, they attract the right investment and have the opportunity and tools to scale up. Working with Boehringer Ingelheim, we are keen to ensure that we are supporting these start-ups in strengthening their value propositions and become successful and sustainable businesses.”