20 Key government schemes to fund digital health startups in Southern Africa

20 Key government schemes to fund digital health startups in Southern Africa

20 Key government schemes to fund digital health startups in Southern Africa

Southern Africa

1. POTRAZ ICT innovation drive fund- Zimbabwe

The innovation project is the brainchild of the government of Zimbabwe and is being implemented by POTRAZ through the Universal service fund. The US$25 million fund is geared towards supporting innovators and tech start-up with a brilliant technology innovation or solution.

To be considered for the fund Zimbabwean innovators should send a detailed brief of the innovation, the business plan and a budget on how the fund money will be spent. You can find the application process procedure here.


Web: http://www.potraz.gov.zw/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +263 4 333032

2. Data for local impact (DLI) innovation challenge – Tanzania

The DLI Innovation Challenge supports local innovators, entrepreneurs, developers, and solution providers to design innovative solutions for problems associated with data gaps and ineffective use of data for decision-making in the areas of HIV/AIDs and global health, gender, and economic growth in Tanzania. Winners of the challenge receive grants up to US$25,000 to develop the proposed solution and are paired with mentors.

To be considered for the fund you need to be a Tanzanian innovator or entrepreneur with an innovative idea, that is using data in new ways and has the potential to sustain beyond the funding period, as indicated in the application procedure here.


Web: http://dliinnovationchallenge.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dliinnovationchallenge/

Email: [email protected]

3. TANZICT innovation fund

The fund is an Initiative between the Tanzanian Government and Finland, to fund digital startups with commercially viable, innovative ideas addressing specific social and economic needs in Tanzania including in health. The expected maximum grant sum will be around TZS 20,000,000 for one applicant.

To be considered for the fund, applicants are required to have innovative and commercially viable ideas and must work with a reputable Tanzanian organization supporting the innovators and entrepreneurs, as indicated on the application procedure here.


Web: https://tanzict.or.tz/

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/tanzict/?_rdc=1&_rdr

Email: arnold@tanzict.or.tz

Phone: +255 75 448 9944

4. Business support services program -Namibia

The Business Support Service Program (BSSP) is a comprehensive package of business support to assist entrepreneurs to conduct feasibility studies, develop business plans, enhance business skills through hands-on training including business monitoring and mentoring in various fields.

To qualify for the funding you must be Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) in Namibia with the potential to develop into successful ventures as indicated here


Web: http://sme.mti.gov.na/namibian-sme/

Phone: +264-61-2837328

5. Incubation support program (ISP)

This grant is aimed at initiating entities to allow them to develop incubator programs and thereby empowering local entrepreneurs and creating employment within the communities and in turn strengthen the economy through SMEs. The grant approval is capped at a maximum of R10 million per financial year over a three year period.

To qualify for the program applicants must be a registered legal entity in South Africa, Be a registered higher or further education institution, or be a licensed and/or registered science council as indicated in the application procedure here.


Web: http://www.thedti.gov.za/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +27 861 843 384

6. Citizen entrepreneurial development agency (CEDA)- Botswana

To qualify for the fund, you must be a Botswana citizen with a viable sustainable business idea as indicated in the application process here.


Web: http://www.ceda.co.bw/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +267 317 0895

7. Business linkages matching fund (BLMF)- Malawi

The Business Linkages Matching Fund (BLMF) being implemented by the Malawi government, is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The US$3, 131,980 BLMF is designed to link Start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives to large enterprise.

To qualify for the program you must be an SME or MSME registered in Malawi as indicated here.


Web: https://www.malawitradeportal.gov.mw/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +2651772428

8. SMECD- Zimbabwe

The government of Zimbabwe introduced a$40 million designed to help start-ups and SME’s the fund is intended to alleviate the challenges these entities face when it comes to acquiring finance, infrastructure provision, technology, management and entrepreneurial skills as well as access to markets.

To qualify for the fund you must be an SME registered under Zimbabwe the Zimbabwe companies act.


Web: www.smecd.gov.zw/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +263 4 731003/6

9. ZDE support fund – Zambia

The Fund is aimed at enhancing the capacity of start-ups and small-scale private sector players in order to facilitate their participation in accelerating the growth of the economy. Among the targeted enterprises, are those involved in Health, agriculture, aquaculture, value addition, renewable energy, and off-grid power generation projects.

To qualify for the funds you must have a copy of your company registration, a copy of the passport of NRC of the owners of the company, a business plan and a tax clearance certificate in Zambia, as indicated in the application details here.


WEB: http://www.zda.org.zm/?q=content/sme-activities

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +260 211 220177

10. Support program for industrial innovation (SPII)- South Africa

These are business grants which support the development of new technology in the South African industry, through the provision of financial assistance for the development of innovative products and/or processes.

To be considered for the funding startups should represent significant advancements in technology, should operate within South Africa and their Intellectual property should reside in a South African registered company, as indicated in the application procedures here.


Name: Moshiane Maseko
Web: https://www.thedti.gov.za/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +27 (12) 394 1811 / +27 (12) 394 9500 / 0861 843 384

11. National youth development agency (NYDA)- South Africa

These grant programs are provided to young entrepreneurs as an opportunity to access financial and non-financial business development support. This program is directed at youth entrepreneurs who are showing potential but are not fully developed yet.

To be considered for the funding you should be 18-35 years of age with necessary skills and experience and you should be a South African citizen and a resident within the borders of South Africa. The youth business funding ranges from R1000 to R100 000 as indicated in the application procedure here.


Web: http://www.nyda.gov.za

12. Credit for youth in business (CYB) – Namibia

CYB is a loan guarantee program. It is aimed at supporting youth who are involved in business activities, those without adequate collateral, so as to encourage them in their efforts to access loans from the mainstream banking sector in order to expand their businesses and create additional employment opportunities to address poverty.

To be considered for the funding you should be a young citizen of Namibia between the ages of 18-35 year, you should be already involved business and a graduate from Namibian youth credit scheme (NYCS) or a graduate from the vocational training centres as indicated in the application procedure here.


Website: http://www.youthcouncil-namibia.org/cyb.htm

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +264 61 248 218

13. Youth development fund – Botswana

This is an empowerment program aimed at promoting the active participation of youth in the socioeconomic development of the country. It aims to encourage the out-of-school, marginalized and unemployed youth to venture into sustainable and viable income generating projects.

To be considered for the funding you should be a young citizen of Botswana and you should attend orientation on application Guidelines and Forms. You should consult with relevant experts and Youth Officers to complete application forms which include a collection of quotations and conducting market research as indicated in the application process here.


Web: http://www.gov.bw/

14. National empowerment fund (NEF) – South Africa

The National Empowerment Fund is targeted at black economic empowerment transactions. Through the provision of financial and non-financial support as well as creating a culture of saving and investing, through its subdivisions such as the iMbewu fund.

To be considered for the funding you should be a black entrepreneur owned start-up business as well as existing black-owned enterprises seeking expansion capital. The fund offers debt, quasi-equity, and equity finance products with a range from R250 000 to R10 million as indicated in the application procedure here.


Website: http://www.nefcorp.co.za/

Email: n[email protected]

Phone: +27800 212 705


An International NGO fighting to end poverty through the promotion of sustainable enterprise development in Africa. The platform, SMEFUNDS accelerates the flow of finance to SMEs in Africa using social investments and ethical financial intermediation solutions.

To qualify for the program, you must be an SME in Africa with a sustainable business model seeking financing. Applicants can find out more about the fund program here.


Web: http://www.smefunds.com/

16. US public diplomacy small grants program – Namibia

The U.S. Embassy Windhoek Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State announced funding opportunities to start-ups and SME’s in Namibia available through its public diplomacy small grants program. The embassy receives applications throughout the year.

To qualify for the funding, applicants must be Namibian residents and should send their cover Letter, proposal, DUNS registration, SAM registration, and an official permission letters from the relevant authorities to the email below.


Web: https://na.usembassy.gov/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/namibia.usembassy

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 061-295-8500

17. Lesotho economic diversification support project – Lesotho

The specific objective of the Project is to support private sector development through improving partnership, entrepreneurship and skills development, access to finance and market, and investment promotion in the selected sectors critical for economic diversification.

To qualify for the program, the applicants must be citizens of Lesotho or residing in Lesotho and they should be a registered entity in the country. Applicants can learn more information about the program here.


Name: Gebre Selassia Kalayu
Web: http://smmesupportnetwork.co.ls/

Phone: +225 2026 3900/ +22 326 383

18. Small enterprise development agency (SEDA) -South Africa

The purpose of the initiative is to support and promote small enterprises throughout South Africa, ensuring their growth and sustainability in coordination and partnership with various role players, including global partners, who make international best practices available to local entrepreneurs.

To qualify for the funding, your business must be registered and should operate in South Africa, which thereafter the applicant will be required to sign a contract acknowledging the debt. Applicants can find out about the application procedure here.


Email: [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Seda.dsbd/

Web: http://www.seda.org.za/

Phone: +27 12 441 1000

19. African guarantee fund (AGF) – AFRICA

The funding is provided by the African Development Bank (AFDB), the Danish Government (through Danida) and the Spanish Government (through AECID). The program mission is to provide, among other services, financial guarantees to banks on behalf of bankable start-ups. The AGF was founded to, among other things, address unemployment among the youth in Africa.

To qualify for the funds, you must have a bankable startup idea operating in Africa. Applicants can learn more about the program here.


Web: www.africanguaranteefund.com

Phone: +254 732 148 000/ +254 719 084 000

20. Small enterprise finance agency (SEFA) – South Africa

SEFA provides assistance to build sustainable businesses, through repayable loans. SEFA offers loans through direct and wholesale lending from $50 up to $390,000.

To qualify for the funding, the applicant must be a South African citizen or a permanent resident and be a registered entity. Micro, small and medium enterprises and co-operatives with a viable business plan can apply for a loan. The application form and other resources can be found here.


Web: https://www.sefa.org.za/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +27 12 748 9600

Image credit: Respective schemes

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