Are you an entrepreneur committed to building inclusive, equitable, and resilient health systems in Asia?
We are looking for cutting-edge solutions that will transform the way Sexual, Reproductive, and Maternal Health as well as Epidemic and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response are addressed across South and Southeast Asia.
Globally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications have demonstrated encouraging potential for enhancing the delivery of maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights information and services.
Artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and data science approaches are also being used to identify risks, conduct predictive modeling, and provide evidence-based recommendations for public health policy and action. However, it is key to maximize the benefits while minimizing risks or harm when applied to the health sector. Responsible AI innovations are defined as those that are ethical, inclusive, and equitable, respect human rights, and contribute to environmental sustainability.
There is a strong opportunity to advance sexual, reproductive and maternal health rights, and adequately address epidemics while strengthening health systems in South and Southeast Asia through the responsible development and deployment of AI innovations.
The startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia is nascent but growing, and even more so in healthcare. This presents an unparalleled market opportunity for AI innovators and entrepreneurs across the region to develop and scale innovations through sustainable business models to address our most pressing health problems.
What is AI4Health Asia?
The AI4Health Asia is a 10-month accelerator program designed to promote and nurture innovations in Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) in South and Southeast Asia. The objective of the program is to fund and support startups that integrate AI innovations to solve health challenges across the region still reeling from the impact of COVID-19, particularly in the areas of (1) Sexual, Reproductive, and Maternal health, and (2) Epidemic and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response. The program will work to create and enable a robust ecosystem of support and catalyze responsible development, scaling, and support for AI innovations in healthcare.
AI4Health Asia aims to
innovative startups working on AI integration in health, particularly SRMH & pandemic response in South & Southeast Asia
hands-on commercial / technical / ethical training and support from domain experts to Asian AI entrepreneurs on product development, go-to-market, and growth strategies
promising entrepreneurs with seed funding to grow talent and capacity in the region to support the local design, development, and deployment of responsible AI for health innovations
AI-enabled innovations with appropriate capital providers to improve health systems in South and Southeast Asia
What the program offers
A customized 10-month program designed to help validate and scale the innovations toward growth and impact
Each startup will receive a grant of up to USD 6,250 to be used to conduct lean experiments to validate business models during the program
Peer Learning and Coaching
Startups will go through intensive virtual ‘learning labs’ facilitated by global experts through a high-impact curriculum and deep dives with peers through sharing circles
Access to one-to-one mentoring by business and domain experts to support lean experimentation and business model validation & growth
Tailored technical assistance from sector experts in the fields of digital health, ethics in data and health, gender-disaggregated data, AI designed for gender-specific concerns
Each startup will receive bespoke investment readiness support from our in-house investment and finance experts to build/strengthen their financial management systems, refine financial models and investment asks, and craft pitch decks and data rooms
Startups that are ready and have investment potential will have the opportunity to get matched and pitch to Villgro’s partner investors at the end of the accelerator program
An opportunity for the startups to showcase their solutions to investors, funders, peers, and stakeholders
Who can apply?
Note: The application deadline has ended and we are no longer accepting any new applications.
Startups that are AI-enabled and offer data-driven products or services that improve health outcomes around:
(1) Sexual, Reproductive, or Maternal Health; OR
(2) Epidemic & Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness & Response
Founder/co-founders of a startup with a legal entity in South and Southeast Asia in any of the following countries:
Underrepresented founders and women-led startups are highly encouraged to apply
Timeline of Activities
Deadline of Applications
March 3, 2023
(11:59 PM +8 GMT)
Screening and Selection
April – December
How to apply?
Note: The application deadline has ended and we are no longer accepting any new applications.
Submit a completed application form via our application portal along with:
● CVs of core team members (Required)
● An updated company pitch document (Required)
● A link to a 2-minute max video that describes the innovation (Optional)
This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the deadline for applications ?
The deadline for applications is March 3, 2023 (11:59 PM +8 GMT)
Can I apply ideas or concepts that have not yet been implemented as a business?
Yes. However, your innovation must demonstrate commercial promise. The more evidence you can provide to demonstrate early-stage traction/potential, the better your chances of being selected.
Who can see the information I submit in the application?
All information submitted may be seen by Villgro Philippines, IDRC, and collaboration partners, which includes judges and assessors.
All members of the program team are bound by confidentiality agreements.
Can I submit more than one application?
Yes, you can submit more than one application provided they are for separate businesses/startups or research if you are involved in both.
What publicity will there be about my application?
Once companies have been admitted into the program, Villgro Philippines and IDRC may publicize your involvement through communication channels including but not limited to websites and social media platforms of Villgro Philippines and collaboration partners, as well as other public communications channels.
What is the selection process?
Applications will be evaluated by a selection panel composed of representatives from Villgro Philippines, IDRC, and other partners.
Applications will be assessed through the following criteria:
|Feasibility of Business Model||The startup must have a defined customer segment and a viable revenue stream. It must have a strong product-market fit and it can be applied efficiently to the target market. There should be strong channels to reach consumers.|
|Potential of Scale||The product must be relevant to its target market. The business model should be replicable to other markets or geographies.|
|Sustainability||The startup can adapt to economic, environmental, social, political, technological, and market changes in its industry. It can manage and grow the business through its profits.|
|Social Impact||The startup is addressing health challenges and has the potential to significantly transform and improve the lives of its customers, employees, and partner organizations. The team and board are committed to building an ethical and responsible business.|
|The Capability of the Team to Execute||Comprised of at least 2-3 members who are passionate and committed, have the right set of skills and mindset to execute their ideas, and have the ability to inspire confidence among future stakeholders.|
|Growth Capital Needs||The entrepreneur is motivated to grow the business and would require growth capital to do so. The entrepreneur and their team are interested and open to accessing external funding to meet their growth needs.|
What exactly do you mean by Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal Health?
Digital technologies and AI applications have shown immense potential for improving the provision of information and services about Sexual, Reproductive, and Maternal Health and rights. This program seeks for startups working on solutions and innovations on improving Sexual, Reproductive, and Maternal Health and rights while strengthening health systems for integrated and sustainable health services
What exactly do you mean by Epidemic and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response?
The COVID-19 pandemic uncovered and worsened systemic flaws in our global systems, which research is assisting decision-makers in understanding and addressing. Epidemic and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response is dedicated to enhancing the world’s resilience to threats to global health and other disasters with solutions based on the skills and knowledge of those susceptible to bearing the weight of global health inequities.
How will the funding be disbursed?
Each startup will receive a grant of up to USD 6,250 to be used over the course of the accelerator program, and will be approved and disbursed after completing key milestones.
Is there an application fee?
No, there is no application fee. The program is also free for selected applicants.
How will I know if I am successful?
Following initial selection, the program coordination team will conduct virtual due diligence interviews on each selected startup to validate the eligibility and program fit. Following due diligence, the cohort will proceed to a meeting with a selection panel. Upon finalization of the cohort by the selection panel, selected startups will be informed.
If you have any further questions, please write to Sofia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Villgro Philippines is a women-owned and led, gender-smart incubator that funds, mentors, and supports impact startups building innovative solutions to address the most urgent social and environmental challenges. It now has a direct portfolio of 39 startups across health, education, agriculture, affordable housing, and women and girls in Southeast Asia. To bridge the gender financing gap in the ecosystem, Villgro co-founded Impact Pioneers, the first impact angel investment platform in the Philippines, and WE Rise Community, an access-to-finance platform for women entrepreneurs to connect to capital, content, and a community of peers and ecosystem enablers. Villgro’s programs have won multiple awards from UN Women Empowerment Principles in 2020 (Youth Gender Champion), and 2021 (SME Champion for Gender Responsive Marketplace).
As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) champions and funds research and innovation within and alongside developing regions to drive global change. We invest in high-quality research in developing countries, share knowledge with researchers and policymakers for greater uptake and use, and mobilize our global alliances to build a more sustainable and inclusive world
Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.
Say hello, stay in touch
Once you’re part of the Villgro Philippines network, you are in a powerhouse of a groundbreaking, myth shattering, norm busting ecosystem of peers whose sole purpose is to move heaven and earth to create sustainable social impact.
Connect with us here
#30 WeWork, Yuchengco Tower 1
RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines