1:30 The Africa Innovation Challenge explained in 90 seconds

The Champions of Science
Africa Innovation Challenge

Throughout Africa, we are looking to drive entrepreneurship and help advance promising health care solutions. Chosen applicants will receive funding up to US $50,000 and technical mentoring from some of the brightest minds at Johnson & Johnson to help bring their idea to life and create meaningful change in their community or country.

Read our press release

You could receive up to US $50,000 in funding

  • mentorship

Apply to one or more of the health care categories today

Botanical Solutions

60-80% of households in Africa still rely on traditional medicine to care for themselves and loved ones. 1 1 Paulo Peter Mhame, Kofi Busia and Ossy MJ Kasilo. Clinical practices of African traditional medicine. WHO: The African Health Monitor Special Issue 13, August 2010. Accessed online: http://ahm.afro.who.int/issue13/index.html We are seeking naturally-derived, plant-based solutions that tap into traditional knowledge and deliver consumer health and wellness benefits through topical application.

Example Ideas
An example idea for the Botanical Solutions category might include a skin lotion that contains a plant extract that soothes burns and pains.

Mental Health

Caring for someone with mental illness, especially the youth, can be very challenging for rural communities. As a result, 75-85% of persons living with mental illness in Africa may not have access to mental health care. 2 2 World Health Organization. Discussion Paper: Mental health, poverty and development. ECOSOC Meeting Discussion Paper, July 2009. Accessed online: http://www.who.int/nmh/publication... We are seeking innovations that create awareness for mental illness as a public health problem and offer solutions for patients, caregivers, and their communities to address these issues.

Example Ideas
An example idea for the Mental Health category might include a mobile phone-based application that tracks and reminds patients to take their prescribed medication at appropriate times.

Packaging Innovations

Managing packaging waste from the increasing consumption in Africa is a challenge for many communities. We are seeking sustainable innovations for packaging of single-dose units and other affordable product sizes that will reduce or eliminate waste, while protecting the product.

Example Ideas
An example idea for the Packaging Innovations category might include a sturdy, reusable product pod for which consumers can purchase a refill at the store when empty.

Health Worker Support

African frontline health workers experience high rates of stress and burnout due to the heavy burden of disease and marked health system challenges. We are seeking innovations that support the wellbeing and resilience of nurses, midwives, and community health workers at the heart of delivering care.

Example Ideas
An example idea for the Health Worker Support category might include a mobile phone-based service that provides nurses with supportive and educational messages.

Digital Health Tools

The African continent has the world's poorest health outcomes, with HIV, TB, Mental Health, Maternal Health and Ebola having especially large impact particularly on women. We are seeking digital tools (including apps and other mobile/web/data enabled tech) for these important health care areas that can inform, educate, communicate and connect people to treatment, support and care through their reach and information and improve health outcomes especially for women.

Example Ideas
An example idea for the Digital Health Tools category might include a mobile phone-based app that provides patients with accurate health care information and access services.

Essential Surgical Care

A significant portion of the burden of disease in Africa can be treated with surgery. However, many health facilities in certain areas do not have the capacity to deliver even basic surgical services. We are seeking innovations that promote access to timely, safe, and skilled surgical care.

Example Ideas
An example idea for the Essential Surgical Care category might include a low-cost reusable tool for early diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.
We invite you to apply by submitting NON-CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION ONLY. The information you provide will only be used to contact you regarding your application.
All information you provide will be governed by our Privacy Policy.

Why this challenge matters to us

The Johnson & Johnson Credo lies at the heart of every aspect of our operations throughout the world. It is our undertaking to be agents of positive change in the countries in which we operate and the communities in which we live and work. 

Johnson & Johnson’s engagement in Africa dates back more than 80 years in over 25 countries. Beyond our growing commercial presence, we have worked extensively with partners based in Africa and internationally to support the underserved in local communities.

To that end, Johnson & Johnson supports the Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge, to encourage entrepreneurial thinking in Africa and the creation of health care solutions that address the critical unmet needs of the continent and her people.

Johnson & Johnson is not granted any rights in the ideas of applicants to the African Innovation Challenge as a result of their participation in the challenge. Applicants and winners remain free to continue the further development of their ideas on their own.

Learn more about the application process

The submitted health care solutions will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Idea submission addresses at least one of the six challenge categories (Botanical Solutions; Packaging Innovations; Mental Health; Health Worker Support; Digital Health Tools; Essential Surgical Care).
  • Idea submission is innovative and creative.
  • Idea submission is scalable.
  • Idea submission outlines how the award would help the applicant(s) reach a critical milestone within the timeframe of a single year and provides a full commercialization plan.

You have to sign up for an account to get started, and you will receive an email to activate your account. You will be guided through the application process which will include signing our general Terms and Conditions Agreement, filling out your application form and uploading your non-confidential project plan.

Deadline to apply is January 16, 2019.
Winners will be announced in Spring 2019.

Meet the mentors from
Johnson & Johnson

Apply Now

Apply today and submit your ground-breaking health care idea that can make a difference in Africa.

We invite you to apply by submitting NON-CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION ONLY. The information you provide will only be used to contact you regarding your application. All information you provide will be governed by our Privacy Policy.

Meet the winners of Africa Innovation Challenge 1.0

Mahmud Johnson


With Johnson & Johnson’s support, Mahmud was able to create 330 new jobs in Liberia, broaden his product portfolio of organic palm kernel oil cosmetics and grow sales by 1100%.

Grace Nakibaala


After one year of support, patent and trademark applications have been filed for the PedalTap™ device, the device is now being manufactured in Uganda, and the device has been installed in several public bathrooms, reducing the risk of infection and saving water.

Francoise Nibizi


J&J mentoring and funding helped Francoise to scale up production of Agateka pads fourfold, opening 2 new manufacturing locations and creating training and permanent jobs for 20 young women.