Posts Tagged “COVID-19 Innovation Challenge”

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Building Capacity to Combat COVID-19 in Africa Call for Proposals

Posted by | 03/07/2020 | Funding Opportunities in Africa 2020, Funding Opportunities in Ghana 2020

Building Capacity to Combat COVID-19 in Africa Call for Proposals

COVID-19 in Africa

The Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, has a new initiative supporting innovators and young entrepreneurs who are developing solutions to combat COVID-19 in Africa.

The Zicklin Center has issued a call for proposals, open to students and young professionals (ages 18 to 35 years old) from around the world interested in offering innovative ideas for an effective private and public sector response to the pandemic throughout Africa.

Wharton School is an ecosystem partner of the Entrepreneurship World Cup, contributing with knowledge used to help inform and educate participants as well as outreach efforts to foster the participation of its alumni and leading entrepreneurship stakeholders around the world.

The program intends to:

Utilize different modalities to support capacity development and access to knowledge.
Facilitate the creation of multidisciplinary teams by connecting global talent with field experts, policymakers, and key players from the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Provide visibility to innovative solutions at the Zicklin Center at Wharton thus providing additional opportunities to attract strategic partners and investors.
More information is on the Zicklin Center site. Those interested must submit a proposal by September 15, 2020.

Following submission, proposals will be reviewed based on their significance, originality, feasibility, and clarity. Active support and mentorship will be provided, along with feedback and networking opportunities.

May 7, 2020 – The Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School and its many partners are issuing a call for proposals for a new initiative: Building Capacity to Combat CAVID-19 in Africa: Ideas and Innovations from Young Entrepreneurs


The Zicklin Center is launching this Initiative under its pillar: BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & INNOVATION and in collaboration with Wharton’s Global Social Impact students club and several other partners. The Initiative is supported by many partnerships, including global and local networks created within the Ideas for Action (I4A) Initiative (

The initiative is open to students and young professionals (ages 18 to 35 years old) from around the world interested in offering innovative ideas for an effective private and public sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic in countries throughout Africa.

The objective of this initiative is to encourage capacity building ideas and innovations from young entrepreneurs, within diverse teams, supported by senior decision-makers and experts in international development, academia, and the private sector. All proposals will be reviewed and offered feedback. The teams will also receive support from a dedicated startup accelerator at the Wharton School, and benefit from unique networking opportunities with other young business leaders.

Policy Making and Community Based Projects

We encourage proposals that address four broad issues:

Policy Making: Proposals should offer innovations in improving government and other policy making entities responses to the COVID-19. Fragility, weak institutions, and underdeveloped public health systems undermine the effective response to COVID-19. How can we build capacity for good governance, compliance, transparency, accountability, and responsibility in COVID -19 responses? How should we support entrepreneurship in government and health care institutions so that “locally nurtured” ideas get support from the leading authorities? How should we support idea generation from the middle ranks and front lines of organizations? Given today’s rapid pace of change in health care systems, public-private partnerships are of critical importance. How should we encourage public-private partnerships to generate successful health care innovations?

Start-up: How should we expand the activities of existing start-ups or new ones to address COVID-19 challenges in Africa.

Technology and Big Data: How should we best utilize technology, AI, blockchain, and big data in the search for innovative responses to the COVID-19?

Community-Based Projects: Substantial experience and capacity already addresses critical health care issues in poor communities, not only in Philadelphia but also other large metropolitan areas in the United States. How should we incorporate these lessons in addressing the challenges raised by COVID-19 in Africa.

Why Should You Participate?

Networking: Diverse Teams

By utilizing our networks, including nearly 20,000 alumni participants in the I4A Initiative, we are well positioned to facilitate the creation of diverse teams, in terms of location, expertise, and cultural background. If you need, we can also help you bring new team members. Let us know if you would like to share your initial ideas through our networks, so that we can facilitate access to potential new team members, including local or global entrepreneurs.

Beyond Single Project: Leadership in Shaping the Local Ecosystem – Strengthening and Creating Markets

This is your unique leadership moment – an opportunity to demonstrate leadership not only through proposing specific, innovative projects but to get actively involved in managing the initiative locally. Send us ideas on how to best utilize your local presence to shape the external ecosystem and strengthen and create markets, thus making them more supportive to scaling up and implementing the projects. What are the best ways to improve governance, compliance, transparency, accountability, and responsibility in the local ecosystem?

Capturing Best Practices and Knowledge Exchange

Although the Initiative is focused on Africa, we would like to invite you to share your local knowledge, particularly community based best practices, which may be beneficial for the implementation of proposals in Africa. Of course, we are mindful of the limitations of North to South knowledge exchanges; some of the best practices from countries in Africa could be equally relevant elsewhere, including underdeveloped communities in developed countries.

Capacity Development and Access to Knowledge

Based on our longstanding experience with the I4A Initiative, we will utilize different modalities to support capacity development and access to knowledge, both in person and online. This will include resources available at the University of Pennsylvania and other partners, ranging from access to knowledge, including Knowledge@Wharton and guest lectures, to locally supported Ideation workshops.


To support your idea, we will connect teams with those who work within the field and have years of business, policymaking, and development experience. This will include access to a mentor or advisor, either at University of Pennsylvania, or at other institutions across the world, who can serve as a constant sounding board and also provide referrals for other individuals that each team may reach out to.

Promoting your Work

In addition to providing substantive feedback from our accelerator and experts, opportunities to get new team members, and access to knowledge, we will feature your work at the Zicklin Center and the I4A’s websites, thus providing additional opportunities to attract strategic partners and investors.


September 15, 2020. The proposals will be reviewed and offered feedback on a first come, first serve base, starting from the moment we will receive the proposal. If you need our support in identifying new team members and finalizing your ideas, please contact us and send the summary of your idea ( by June 20.

For more information, including the format of the proposal or the summary of the proposal, please see the Zicklin Center and the I4A’s websites.

Submission Portal

When you and your team are ready to submit your idea, please access the submission portal through the link on the Ideas for Action website at


Africa Innovation and Investment Forum 2020 – COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) threatens to undo the hard-earned health, economic and social development gains that Africa has registered since 2000.

COVID-19 has overrun well-resourced healthcare systems of some developed and developing countries and several organizations, including WHO, have issued cautionary statements encouraging African countries to boost their healthcare capabilities to meeting the impending surge in infections.

Africa traditionally depends on external supplies of medical equipment, diagnostic reagents and tools, protective gear and medicines. With a global scramble for limited medical supplies, Africa may have to turn inwards.

The continent may need to leverage the limited technology and innovation capabilities, harness and stimulate its full entrepreneurial talent to respond, deepen national and regional supply chains and optimise global knowledge partnerships to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19 and beyond.

It is in this regards that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners are pleased to invite researchers, firms, public and private development agencies, government leaders, innovators, youths and development partners to showcase their innovations at the first Africa Innovation and Investment Forum 2020 with a focus on COVID-19, from 15-19 June 2020.

The Innovation Challenge 2020

The Innovation Challenge 2020 of the Forum seeks to identify and showcase some of the top technologies and innovations from across Africa and beyond; explore investment and market needs and; identify business opportunities in the following areas:

i.            Affordable rapid testing;

ii.            Enhance medical devices and personal protection gear design and fabrication

iii.            Alternative tools for efficient and effective contact tracing and isolation

iv.            Development and production of potential drugs and vaccines in Africa


The Innovation Challenge 2020 is open to all firms, individuals, research centres, innovation hubs, universities and institutes as well as government leaders and agencies and business leaders of all sizes and ages.

Why should you participate?

Besides the opportunities to meet business and government leaders, the top 20 innovations selected in each of the 5 categories will be profiled on the ECA and partners’ websites at the Tech Market and Exhibition for Entrepreneurs and Investors; and the top 10 in each category will be given the opportunity to convince and get the support of governments, investors and potential partners and collaborators.