•At the heart of the programme is cultivating an social entrepreneurial mindset for better health in the Kenyan society by addressing key themes including hygiene awareness
•About 25 students from Kenyatta and Strathmore University participated in a series of workshops focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship.
A leading pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, has collaborated with Kenyatta and Strathmore universities to launch an innovation competition.
The competition, called the Making More Health Venture4Change idea, aims to unlock the creative potentials of young aspiring professionals.
It encourages participants to develop innovative, scalable and sustainable ground-breaking solutions on how to improve sanitation and hygiene for children and youths aged between 6-25 years.
It further aims to foster ideas that create a holistic approach towards local communities engagement and empowerment.
The company said this goal will be achieved by co-creating with various experts and several partners from different sectors or businesses to discuss best practices in health and more specifically, on improving hygiene for the younger population across the country.
About 25 students from Kenyatta and Strathmore University participated in a series of workshops focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship.
The workshops integrated keynote speakers, social innovation advocates and practitioners. Participants worked in project teams and actively engaged in tackling group tasks and assignments that combine theory and practice.
As a part of the MMH initiative, Venture4Change incorporated modules that encourage disruptive thinking and identify new solutions and business models for students. It laid a definitive focus on collaboration, project sustainability, simple and efficient solutions, and employee engagement, among others.
In a statement, the company said MMH is a global initiative that seeks to promote social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and doing by finding innovative business models that create a benefit for the wider society.
The initiative is focusing on bringing together both business and social knowledge. This combination is to improve health in communities through identifying and supporting the most promising solutions to overcome health challenges.
Sabine Emmerich, Boehringer Ingelheim, Global lead of Making More Health Venture4Change programs said: “This is a unique initiative that paves the way for stronger collaboration and partnership with the local community, supporting their entrepreneurial mind-set and supporting their inspiration and ambition of giving back to the community they live in. Our aim is to create new opportunities through innovative approaches. By partnering with new talents, universities, professors, teachers, as well as employees, the output presented will contribute to the development of sustainable solutions for all participants and their communities.”
“Boehringer Ingelheim has been at the forefront of introducing a broad range of initiatives that are focused on creating sustainable value in Kenya and the wider African continent. We work with local, regional and multinational leaders to support the development of innovative healthcare solutions, increase awareness of key disease priorities as well as prevention mechanisms through reach and enrich knowledge and education programmes.
Sanine added: "Venture4Change offers the chance to explore business models and provides a unique leadership experience. We are driving co-creation by amplifying social impact via a Win-Win collaboration module between low-income communities and university students."
At the end of the programme, the 3 finalist teams will be given the opportunity to implement their ideas on the ground in partnership with MMH partners in Slums or rural areas of Kenya. Furthermore, the students will walk away with a sensitivity for social needs and top-level industry skills in the areas of global health, business development, pitching, leadership, presentation, and social entrepreneurship skills.
Paul Ochieng, Dean of Students at Strathmore University noted: “In Kenya, social innovation is soaring, and we want to be able to accelerate that through collaborations and partnerships with organizations that add more value to the wider social infrastructure. The MMH Venture4Change Program allows participants to embrace top-level industry skills in multiple fields including business development, leadership presentation while also enhancing their social entrepreneurship skills. This will be coupled with teamwork skills as well as key learnings on the applications of innovation to drive strong impact.”
KU Prof. Paul K. Wainaina said: "Kenyatta University promotes the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for the accelerated impact of new solutions, which is made better through partnerships such as the one with Boehringer Ingelheim, Innovations in Healthcare and Duke University"
Kenya is home to one of the most established innovation ecosystems in Africa, where new investment projects are helping to create more sustainable businesses across the country.