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Africa Innovation Challenge selects winners

The world’s largest healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson has announced winners of the first Africa Innovation Challenge in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in South Africa. The objective of this competition, which began in 2016 is on supporting African entrepreneurs working on local consumer health solutions.

The challenge focused on three essential health issues: promoting early child development and maternal health; empowering young women and improving family well-being. Three of the almost 500 received were selected as winners. They are:

  1. Project Agateka (Burundi) – provides a direct health solution and opportunity for women and girls to generate income in Burundi. Also, provides health education to support improved sexual and reproductive health.
  2. Project Kernel Fresh (Liberia) – gets natural palm kernels from smallholder women farmers, this would increase their income, create jobs for young women by training them to market the products in Liberia.
  3. Project Pedal Tap (Uganda) – hands-free solutions for hand water taps in Uganda. The entrepreneurs will create manufacturing capabilities from mostly recycled materials, which will lead to an ongoing business.

Chief Technology Officer for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., Josh Ghaim said; “This was an extremely difficult competition to judge as there were many terrific ideas.”

“The three winning projects demonstrated a strong benefit to local communities and the ability to empower young women, and they also have the potential to deliver ongoing economic support.”

Winners will get funds and be mentored by engineers, scientists, and operations members from the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Research & Development organisation and other areas of the company.

The Challenge is one of Johnson & Johnson’s comprehensive plans to collaborate with and support Africa’s vibrant innovation, education and health systems institutions.


Solomon Obende
Solomon Obende is a graduate of Public Administration from the prestigious Ambrose Alli University who is passionate about communications for development. He is proficient in crafting effective social media strategies. He listens to Jimmy Cliff's songs daily.

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