Villgro, UBS-Optimus Foundation launch accelerator programme for healthcare social enterprises

The accelerator programme will identify scalable models that increase access to and quality of health services across the spectrum of care – from community, clinics, to hospitals, thus improving the quality of healthcare systems.
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VillgroFoundation and UBS-Optimus Foundation on Wednesday launched a healthcare accelerator programme to drive better outcomes among underserved communities in India. The programme aims to support market-ready, revenue stage, for-profit social enterprises working in the areas of safe surgery, frontline healthcare, and paediatric cancer

The programme will identify scalable models that provide quality healthcare facilities across the spectrum of care — from community, clinics, to hospitals.

The selected startups will be provided with access to corporate partnerships, strong business advisory, and mentoring support during a 100-day acceleration programme. At the end of it, these startups will get a chance to pitch for investment to UBS-Optimus Foundation and other partners on demo day. 

Sharing her thoughts on the programme, Marissa Leffler, Health Programme Director at UBS Optimus Foundation, said, “In spite of tremendous efforts from the government of India to improve access  and quality of health services, 50 percent of Indians still live in areas without access to quality primary care and medicine.”

“Such a programme has a strong potential of supporting market-based models in low-income settings and enable health innovations that help improve access to affordable and quality healthcare to India's underserved, especially children,” she added.

For the frontline healthcare workers, the programme is seeking to identify models that improve primary care access in India by building a scalable community health worker (CHW) system. It is also looking for social enterprises focussed on capacity development of local health systems, tech interventions that improve linkage to health facilities while digitally empowering CHWs. 

“The accelerator programme seeks to enable acceleration of enterprises, which are able to address some of the largest and untended areas of the healthcare system in India. Acceleration programme will kick off with a diagnosis of key gaps and challenges in startup’s business models, and setting out a customised milestone map for them,” said Srinivas Ramanujam, CEO, Villgro.

He added, "The intent is to create a pipeline of investment-ready healthcare startups, working on innovative healthcare solutions by providing them access to funding, mentorship, and partnerships support."

In the safe surgery domain, the enterprises should be strengthening access to secondary and tertiary health systems, promoting tech-enabled interventions for early diagnosis, and improving access to affordable surgical tools and technologies.

In the pediatric cancer space, the programme is seeking to enable social enterprises that strengthen specialised nursing skills and key sub-specialities, as well as train frontline workers in early warning signs of cancer.

Edited by Suman Singh

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