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Around the World

Villgro Kenya joins list of investors hunting for innovative ideas to fight Covid-19

Villgro Kenya, a healthcare-focused incubator and investor, has joined the growing list of investors who are seeking to fund  startups with innovative ideas that can help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus, Covid-19

Villgro Kenya, a healthcare-focused incubator and investor, has joined the growing list of investors who are seeking to fund  startups with innovative ideas that can help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

The funder is urging startups to develop innovations that can be scaled across Africa in the wake of the contagious disease.

To this end,Villgro Kenya has created an initiative to collate innovative products that will actualise the set goal. Startups have until the 15th of April to send an email with a pitch for the initiative.

Villgro Kenya said that a disruptive idea is urgently needed, especially now that healthcare professionals are projecting that the current lockdowns across Africa might be extended.

“Public health experts predict that social distancing with periods of total lockdown may continue for the next 18 months before a vaccine is ready. Furthermore, the outbreak could come in waves rather than in one single event,” Villgro said.

(READ MORE: BOI donates N700 million to aid fight against coronavirus)

In Nigeria, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has hinted that the 14-day lockdown could be extended. The country is still trying to trace over 6000 contact persons of confirmed cases. So far, Nigeria has recorded over 2oo confirmed cases of Covid-19. New cases have continued to be discovered almost on a daily basis in the country..

Villgro Kenya joins list of investors hunting for innovative ideas to fight Coronavirus outbreak

What Villgro Kenya wants  from startups: The funder is requestimg for applications from startups that can develop any solution that will complement the efforts of medical personnel who are combating the Coronavirus pandemic in Africa.

Information made available by Villgro Kenya said that startups who are interested will have to focus on registry-based follow-up of critically ill patients and emergency response. Other forms of innovations favoured by Villgro Kenya include medical devices and commodities such as quality affordable ventilators, sanitisers, and oxygen concentrators.

Also on the preferred list of Innovation are respirator masks and drug delivery systems, risk communication, social dynamics and public health response, and supporting healthcare system response.

A triangular approach to tackle COVID-19: The firm said countries would have to depend on homegrown solutions.

“Countries should, therefore, prepare for a far-reaching health, economic and social crisis. Developing countries will need to develop homegrown solutions given that the traditional crisis response actors are focused on the domestic front.”

The funder, which was created by India-based Villgro Innovations Foundation, eyes a collaborative effort between various governments, the academia, and the private sector that support local innovations that assist in testing, treatment, and monitoring of Coronavirus patients.

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[READ ALSO: Walt Disney donates tons of food, 100k masks, others to communities, health workers over…)

Tech investors joining fight: Villgro Kenya is the the latest investor pledging to support startups with solutions to mitigate the Coronavirus outbreak. Nairametrics had previously reported that AntlerCairo Angels and Microtraction have offered various financial support for startups innovating in line with COVID-19 demands.

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Aside from these tech-funders, other players in the private sector have also been raising funds to support the fight against COVID-19. Banks, telecoms, cable tv operators and other companies are leading the fight through funds and creation of testing and isolation centres.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Around the World

Covid-19: US economy grappling with 10 million job losses, adds 379,000 jobs in February 

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the mandatory lockdown of major businesses and factories in the US.

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The World’s biggest economy is grappling with the loss of 10 million jobs due to the Covid-19.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the mandatory lockdown of major businesses and factories in the country. This meant downsizing for most companies who could not continue paying salaries with no incoming revenue

According to the Nasdaq, the unemployment rate in the United States economy was at its highest in April last year, reaching a record high of 14.7%. The unemployment rate dropped to 6% but that is still a significant number.

According to CNN, the US economy added 379,000 Jobs in February this year. This is a clear sign of the world biggest economy getting back on track. Although the US economy is still missing around 9.5 million jobs since the beginning of Covid-19.

Biggest losers 

According to Nasdaq, the most affected industries in the Covid 19 economic decline is the Hospitality and Outdoor industry. Hotels and restaurant workers were mostly put out of jobs. They also fall into a category regarded as the long-term unemployment category. This category is used to define those who have been without a job for 27 weeks.

Big government to the rescue 

The United States government has rolled out the following packages to cushion the effect of the Covid 19:

  • The Joe Biden Administration has postulated a 1.9 trillion Covid Relief Package for Americans. The Bill made it through a house vote and now needs to pass the senate-house too.
  • Jobless American workers will be entitled to an extra $400 a week.
  • The Joe Biden new relief bill will also contain a $1,400 stimulus check for citizens.

 What to know 

  • The US economy is gradually shifting to the post-Covid-19 era adding 379,000 jobs in February alone. It added a paltry 166,000 jobs in January.
  • The United States major economic rival China is already in the post-Covid-19 era, the only major economic country in the post-Covid-19 era.

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Jack Dorsey’s Square set to acquire majority stake in Jay Z’s Tidal for $297 million

Jack Dorsey’s company, Square set to acquire Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Jay-Z for a $297 million deal.

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Square, the mobile payments company owned by Jack Dorsey, announced on Thursday its plan to acquire a “significant majority” of Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Hip-hop music mogul, Jay-Z.

Square said it expects to pay $297 million, in a combination of cash and stock, for a stake in Tidal. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will join Square’s board, subject to the closing of the transaction while Tidal will operate independently within Square.

Existing artist shareholders will still remain stakeholders. Other Tidal artist-owners include Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna.

In a tweet made by Jay-Z today, he highlighted that “from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey.”

He also commented that “Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times, and our many discussions about TIDAL’s endless possibilities have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board.

“This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”

Jack Dorsey, who is CEO of both Square and Twitter, also commented on this deal “comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work.”

“New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew Tidal was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”

Jesse Dorogusker, a Square executive will lead Tidal on an interim basis. He added that Square will offer financial tools to help Tidal’s artists collect revenue and manage their finances. “There are other tools they need to be successful and that we’re going to build for them,”.

What you should know

  • Last month, Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z announced a Bitcoin fund focused on developing the cryptocurrency’s adoption in Africa and India.
  • In 2017, Sprint bought a 33% stake in Tidal. This week, Jay-Z bought back those shares from T-Mobile (which acquired Sprint).
  • Last month, Jay-Z announced that he would sell 50 percent of his champagne company, Armand de Brignac — better known as Ace of Spades — to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton amid a downturn in the entertainment industry caused by the pandemic that has affected some of Jay-Z’s holdings.

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