Merck – Make-IT Africa Startup Program – VC4A

Merck – Make-IT Africa Startup Program

Are you a start-up working towards the SDG’s and are based in Africa? Are you working at the cutting edge of innovation to solve real-life problems? Is your start-up innovation related to Healthcare, Life Sciences, Performance Materials, and Merck’s innovation focus areas?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above. Then we are looking for you! The Joint Start-up Programme, a collaboration between Merck Accelerator with Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative “Make-IT in Africa” is your gateway to quickly explore and validate the potential for co-creating and working in in the health sector especially in partnership with Merck.

Apply to get a chance to work on a collaboration project with existing Merck’s innovation projects.


Digital Solutions in the Healthcare Sector

Primary access to healthcare and healthcare services are key to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. The application of technological solutions can contribute to increasing the efficiency of healthcare through enhanced access, improved affordability but also innovative diagnostic services and administration processes.

To augment the digital access solution services, we are looking for innovative and ambitious start-ups with a sustainable business model in different areas e.g.:

Example opportunity:

Healthcare Access Solutions
CURAFA™ Points of Care, born out of the Merck innovation spirit is a pilot initiative currently consisting of 5 Primary Healthcare facilities operating at high-quality standards running in Kenya. The platform concept will provide a pharmacy with prescription and OTC medication, insurance/patient financing schemes, patient health education and clinical services enhanced through mobile and digital health solutions.
Can your solution benefit from and enhance our CURAFA points of care platform?

Bio-sensing and Interfaces
Merck’s Innovation Field “Bio-sensing and Interfaces” focuses on the interface between the biological and digital world. Around the world, healthcare costs have reached all-time highs, the pharmaceutical industry productivity
is decreasing, and drugs are becoming more expensive. This situation is unsustainable in the long run. Digital technologies have enormous potential in delivering the needed change: We aim to decentralize and democratize the healthcare model and empower patients to better manage their health and we are looking for Startups that have innovative solutions covering: 

Example opportunities:

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Liquid Biopsy Technologies
Today, the diagnoses of various diseases require invasive tissue biopsies, which not only affect patient experience and clinical utility but also disable new applications such as early detection and monitoring. With the recent advent of liquid biopsy as a new sampling and testing method, non-invasive alternatives to traditional tissue-based diagnostics are beginning to be applied more and more in clinical contexts, thereby reshaping the way of detecting and managing various diseases. Merck’s Innovation Field “Liquid Biopsy Technologies” focuses on technological solutions to overcome unresolved challenges in the liquid biopsy workflow as well as on applications beyond cancer and we are looking for you if you’re working on:

Example opportunities:


We are looking for start-ups that fulfil the following criteria:


Our program will be targeting start-ups across Africa. We will have one application platform where participants will be required to specify which region they are applying from and where their business is registered: North Africa, Eastern Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa.

Application Phase June 21 – July 17 2019
Selection interviews July 11 – July 18 2019
Nairobi: Bootcamp August 5 – August 10 2019
South Africa: Innovation Summit September 09 – September 13 2019
Germany: Medica and Selection Days November 18 – November 27 2019


This is your gateway to quickly explore and validate the potential for co-creating and working in partnership with Merck and profit from the broad network of Make-IT in Africa. In addition, we have a few perks for the best start-ups:

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.

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HYBR is a Pan-African Innovation Advisory firm and growth platform for impact scale-ups. We work with entrepreneurs, multinational corporations, governments, non-profits, academia and investors to scale social impact solutions in Africa. Our venture support programs have enabled over 250 ventures across 10 countries in Africa since 2017. We work with partners to drive better access to food, education, healthcare, financial inclusion and energy to underserved populations in Africa.

This content was originally published here.