Reckitt and partners launch fund for women-led startups tackling health challenges


The project aims to enhance access to quality healthcare in Africa.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • WinFund is an innovative model that will help entrepreneurs grow.
  • The project aims to enhance access to quality healthcare in Africa.

Global consumer goods company Reckitt has collaborated with the Health Innovation and Investment Exchange (HIEx), the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Eco Bank Foundation to launch a 100 per cent non-profit initiative called WinFund NFT Africa Collection.

The project aims to enhance access to quality healthcare in Africa. The WinFund NFT Africa Collection comprises unique digital artworks that will create a community of innovators, investors, and supporters to champion the next generation of African women who tackle some of the continent's most significant health challenges.

The initiative targets two significant areas of inequality. First, half the world's population, or one in two people, lacks access to essential healthcare. Second, less than 2 percent of venture capital funding globally goes to women, despite evidence showing that their ventures generate stronger returns. WinFund aims to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs to address both of these gaps.

Patricia O'Hayer, Global Head of External Affairs for Reckitt Benckiser and co-founder of WinFund, stated that "women-led companies are already achieving amazing things: improving access to healthcare and saving lives. 

WinFund is an innovative model that will help entrepreneurs grow by building an engaged, global community that will provide business support and financing through the sale of unique NFTs. These entrepreneurs are addressing some of the world's biggest challenges, and through them, we believe WinFund can transform access to healthcare for the people who need it most."

WinFund will invest directly in women entrepreneurs who are already implementing homegrown solutions to some of the continent's most urgent health challenges.

The applicants include Umra Omar from Kenya, the founder and director of Safari Doctors. She is leading her team of medics in delivering primary healthcare to some of the country's most remote regions.

Umra’s organization delivers primary medical care and health education by boat, air, and land to the Bajuni and Aweer communities in Lamu, Kenya.

Another Kenyan who has been shortlisted is Judith Oketch, who founded Ambulex Kenya, which offers emergency healthcare solutions for low-income communities.

Other entrepreneurs who have been shortlisted include Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa from Uganda, who launched the Community Healthcare Innovation Lab (CHIL) to screen women in remote locations for cervical and breast cancer using artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr Nercy Ashaba from Uganda is helping people manage the cost of healthcare through the fintech company she co-founded, Peleyta Health, and with Adeola Ayoola, co-founder of Nigerian e-health startup Famasi Africa, which is a digital health platform that helps people access their medications and connect with healthcare providers.

Nigerian healthcare entrepreneur Dorothy Jeff Nnamani, founder of Novo Health Africa, is also in the running. Her organization is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) in Nigeria that provides sustainable health care programs, including health insurance, healthcare financing, health management solutions, and community health project delivery.
Rwanda's Blandine Umuziranenge of Kosmotive, a social enterprise that is increasing access to menstrual, maternal, and child health information and products in Rwanda, is also on the list.

By investing in companies like these, WinFund will directly support women entrepreneurs in scaling their enterprises, extending their reach, and helping more people than ever access high-quality healthcare. WinFund’s ambition is to replicate this model on other continents in the future.

The WinFund NFT Africa Collection will be partly financed through the sale of unique works of digital art, designed by Rwandan artist Christella Bijou. Additional funding will come from mission-aligned donors, partner organizations, and high-net-worth individuals.