WISH awards major cash prizes to selected innovators
The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) announced the top winners of its last two Innovation Award competitions during the WISH 2020 closing ceremony on Thursday. WISH CEO Sultana Afdhal presented the WISH Innovation Spark competition awards to SOSO Care and the WISH Innovation Booster competition to Ellen Medical Devices for its affordable dialysis machine.
SOSO Care is a mobile health insurance micro business from Nigeria that uses an innovative approach to bring health insurance to millions of Nigerians by enabling payment of insurance 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 marks the first time that we have held innovation awards at WISH. The awards recognize and support innovation achievements in healthcare, but – more importantly – they shine a light on the underlying issues of the innovation cycle, ensuring healthcare startups l access to the funding and mentorship they need to succeed.
Nonso Opurum, co-founder of SOSO Care, thanked the WISH community for their trust in his work. “I appreciate your commitment to universal health,” he said. Professor John Knight, CEO of 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 around the world. This award brings us one step closer to realizing that dream.
The WISH Innovation Spark competition and the 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 develop and validate a scalable project, while Booster targets entrepreneurs with exciting innovations looking to grow and scale.
The competitions received nearly 500 entries from 43 countries, setting a record number for WISH, with 30 finalists selected for innovations of exceptional caliber. These innovators were given a platform at the WISH 2020 Virtual Innovation Center to showcase their work to global health experts and decision makers at the summit.
Through its Innovation Awards program, WISH aims to promote a wide range of healthcare innovations that have the potential to improve the quality of healthcare while reducing costs. WISH has partnered with several renowned local and international innovation hubs to offer winners the opportunity to benefit from expert mentorship and training workshops, in addition to one-on-one interactions with potential investors during 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 former WISH Innovation Program Ambassadors, they will also receive mentorship and a championship for up to one year. The closing ceremony took stock of a summit that featured more than 100 sessions and organized an interactive innovation hub using the latest virtual technologies.
Commenting on the virtual platform, Afdhal said, “Although this year has brought us many challenges, it has certainly been an experience of rethinking what used to be a physical conference into a virtual one.”
WISH 2020 is the fifth installment of the biennial summit, which has established itself as an important part of the global healthcare agenda. More than 300 experts from different fields and countries spoke at the virtual event which included a wide range of interactive live sessions, discussing critical global health issues and exploring innovative solutions to global health challenges.