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In January, the world’s most global startup competition partnered up with Bayer Foundation for the Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award 2022. Aimed at empowering the female entrepreneurs who are to harvest a healthier future for Africa with their innovations in health and nutrition. 4 months and 500+ applications later, we have the Top 5 winners! Here are the leading women-led health and nutrition ventures of Sub-Saharan Africa; Farm to Feed, IRIBA Water Group, NovFeed, Safe Motherhood Alliance and Zuri Health.

Women entrepreneurs account for 58% of Africa’s employed population – with their innovations in health and nutrition, they are driving change and shaping the continent’s future. However, there is still a significant funding gap between female entrepreneurs and their male counterparts globally.

The Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award 2022, powered by Get in the Ring, was aimed at identifying and supporting game-changing women entrepreneurs of Sub-Saharan Africa, whose innovations are harvesting a healthier future by driving positive change in the domains of health and nutrition.

Monika Lessl, Vice president Corporate R&D and Social Innovation; Director of Bayer Foundation said:We selected 5 outstanding women entrepreneurs as winners of the Women Empowerment Award of the Bayer Foundation! Out of 500 applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa, these 5 winners have been identified as leading ventures enabling step-changes in the area of health and nutrition! Each of the Winners will receive €25,000 from Bayer Foundation to scale their impact and join the Bayer Foundations 24 week accelerator program to grow their venture.” 

Madelon Bangma, the CFO of Unknown Group said: “It was an honor to be part of the jury of the Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award 2022 – an award that recognizes outstanding Sub-Saharan female entrepreneurs. I was truly impressed by the impactful solutions and the passion of the founders. I have no doubt that female entrepreneurship will be key in harvesting a healthier future for Africa.”

Selected out of 500+ applicants and a comprehensive selection process, here are the five winners of the Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award 2022:

Farm to Feed – Their solution reduces incidences of food loss whilst providing much-needed additional income to Kenyan farmers and making healthy food more available. Since its launch in April 2020, their current rate of rescuing 45,000 vegetable portions per week. Farm to Feed was founded in 2020 by Claire Van Enk . They are located in Kenya.

Claire Van Enk, Founder of Farm to Feed said: “Winning the Bayer Women Empowerment award was an incredible recognition of our food rescue solution we developed to tackle poor nutrition, food security and climate change. Access to Bayer Foundation’s networks and resources through this Accelerator Programme will be an extremely helpful catalyst to scaling our solution. “

IRIBA Water Group – is a social enterprise in Rwanda. They are offering innovative water solutions. Water is purified by advanced RO and UV treatment technologies making it 100% safe for drinking. Since their founding of rural Kiosks in Ruramira Village, they provide clean drinking water to more than 30,000 people daily. IRIBA Water Group was founded by Yvette Ishimwe in 2016. 

Yvette Ishimwe, founder of IRIBA Water Group said: “ My experience with the Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award 2022 has been incredible. From the wonderful networking opportunities with potential investors and fellow African women entrepreneurs to being selected among the Top 5 winners. This was a memorable journey for me and my business.”

NovFeed – NovFeed offers a protein feed solution that is nutritionally comparable to traditional fishmeal but can be scaled quickly, efficiently, and without the need for wild-caught fish and farmed soy. In March 2020, Ifakara Hackathon recognized NovFeed as the first-runner for the best innovation to ensure food security. NovFeed was founded by Diana Orembe in 2018. They are located in Tanzania. 

Safe Motherhood Alliance – Their solution is to advance safe births for pregnant women in underserved communities by developing and distributing innovative sterile tools & products to ensure positive health outcomes for both mothers and newborns. By providing traditional community helpers with these kits, the Alliance is also able to foster a sense of community engagement and economic empowerment for those in rural areas. Safe Motherhood Alliance was founded in 2016 by Muzalema Mwanza, located in Zambia. 

Zuri Health – Their solution is a virtual hospital providing affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-saharan Africa via mobile app, website, Whatsapp bot and SMS service. Since the founding of the virtual hospital services, the underserved population can have access to affordable and sustainable healthcare. Zuri Health is located in Kenya, founded in 2020 by Daisy Isiaho

Congratulations to these bold and unconventional women entrepreneurs-driven solutions that are making a positive impact with their promising solutions for a healthier future! We look forward to meeting them in person at the Bayer Social Innovation day in June.