The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) announced the grand prize winners of its two latest Innovation Award competitions during the closing ceremony of WISH 2020 on Thursday. WISH CEO Sultana Afdhal presented the awards for the WISH Innovation Spark Competition to SOSO Care and the WISH Innovation Booster Competition to Ellen Medical Devices for its affordable dialysis machine.
SOSO Care is a micro mobile health insurance startup from Nigeria using an innovative approach to bring health insurance to millions of Nigerians by enabling insurance payment in exchange for recycling waste. Ellen Medical Devices’ affordable dialysis machine is the world’s first low-cost dialysis system. The Spark Award and Booster Award winners also received $5,000 and $10,000 respectively as part of the prize.
Afdhal said: “This year represents the first time we have hosted innovation awards at WISH. The awards recognise and support achievement in healthcare innovation, but – more importantly – they shine a light on underlying issues in the innovation cycle, ensuring healthcare startups have access to funding and the mentorship they need to succeed.”
Nonso Opurum, co-founder of SOSO Care, thanked the WISH community for confidence in their work. “I am grateful for your commitment to universal health,” he said. Professor John Knight, managing director, Ellen Medical Devices, said: “Here at The George Institute for Global Health, our mission is to save millions of lives; in this case, by providing affordable dialysis treatment to kidney patients all around the world. This award takes us one step closer to realising that dream.”
The WISH Innovation Spark Competition and WISH Innovation Booster Competition were launched in early 2020, inviting local, regional, and international entrepreneurs with innovative healthcare products or ideas to participate. The Spark competition aims to help early-stage startups to develop and validate a scalable project, while Booster targets entrepreneurs with exciting innovations looking to scale up and grow.
The competitions received close to 500 applications from 43 countries, setting a record number for WISH, with 30 finalists being selected for exceptionally high caliber innovations. These innovators were given a platform at the WISH 2020 virtual Innovation Hub to showcase their work to global health experts and policymakers during the summit.
Through its Innovation Award Programme, WISH aims to promote a wide range of healthcare innovations that can improve healthcare quality while also reducing cost. WISH has partnered with several renowned local and international innovation hubs to provide the winners the opportunity to receive expert mentorship and training workshops, in addition to the one-on-one interactions with potential investors during the WISH 2020.
All selected innovators will receive WISH media support for up to 12 months, and invitations to other summits and events as additional benefits. As WISH innovation programme alumni ambassadors, they will also receive mentorship and championship for up to a year. The closing ceremony looked back at a summit that featured more than 100 sessions and staged an interactive Innovation Hub using the latest in virtual technology.
Commenting on the virtual platform, Afdhal said: “Though this year has brought many challenges for us, it has certainly been an experience to re-engineer what was a physical conference into one that is virtual.”
WISH 2020 is the fifth installment of the biennial summit, which has established itself as a significant fixture of the global healthcare calendar. More than 300 experts from different fields and countries spoke at the virtual event that featured a wide range of live interactive sessions, discussing critical global health issues and exploring innovative solutions to health challenges worldwide.