The New Times Kigali Julius Bizimungu
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Rwandan entrepreneurs with innovative consumer healthcare solutions stand to win millions of francs in this year’s Africa Innovation Challenge.

The competition, that targets African countries, including Rwanda, is conducted by Johnson & Johnson, a multi-national firm and makers of pharmaceuticals and other bio-technology products.

The contest seeks to support Africa’s vibrant and growing innovation ecosystem and to help develop critical and locally-sustainable consumer health solutions, according to the organisers.

The proposed solution should be in the fields of early child development and maternal health, empowering young girls, and promoting family wellbeing. To participate, one has to have an innovative idea and detailed project plan, or a university student, or an engineer, or should be operating an early stage start-up or project that has not raised $100,000 in funding. The challenge also seeks those whose ideas are innovative and creative, and scalable.

« The challenge is the latest initiative in the company’s comprehensive approach to advancing health and innovation worldwide. Through the Africa Innovation Challenge, we have the opportunity to support the continent’s top entrepreneurs through mentorship and other resources, and by working together with local talent, to bring forward new solutions to local health care challenges, » said Paul Stoffels, the Johnson & Johnson managing director, said in a statement.

Winning entrepreneurs will share up to $100,000 (about Rwf83.3 million) and receive mentorship to develop their innovations.

The winner of the challenge will also receive dedicated space at a lab facility in Africa throughout their product or service development, depending on the needs of the solution submitted.

To apply for the challenge and review the applicable terms and conditions, visit the Africa Innovation Challenge website: The deadline for submission of applications is January 17, 2017, while winners will be announced in February.