This fall, H2i International teammates Amanda Dlamini and Dr. Paul Santerre embarked on a trip to Ethiopia, South Africa and Ghana. The three-week trip was dedicated to fostering the growth of many new and significant collaborations with partners across the three countries.  

With many African-based partnered programs and events launched to date, and more to come in 2024, the H2i team was excited to meet with over a dozen unique partners in-person over the course of the trip. These growing relationships and activities which span universities, NGOs, cities, and countries are affirming evidence of a flourishing, and ever-expanding international health innovation ecosystem that H2i is thrilled to be a part of… 


The first leg of their trip took them to Ethiopia, where they first met with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC).

The H2i and African CDC teams met to explore possible collaborations within the broader objectives and work of The Africa Higher Education Health Collaborative. Further, H2i met with a department within the African CDC which focuses on entrepreneurship and began discussions for a partnered future activity that would support the engagement of entrepreneurs within the mission of Africa CDC, and the education of entrepreneurs on unmet needs in disease management.  

Next up in Ethiopia, H2i met with Addis Ababa University (AAU), where the teams discussed potential collaborations between the university, H2i, and U of T. The H2i team was delighted to join their AAU colleagues for a visit to a museum on its campus, housed in the former residence of Emperor Haile Selassie. The teams then mixed discussions on future entrepreneur training support for both students and mentors alike while taking in authentic local cuisine and music entertainment. 


The H2i team then made their way to South Africa for the first annual convening of The African Higher Education Collaborative. The three-day convening brought together representatives from all Health Collaborative partners: Addis Ababa University, African Leadership University, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), AMREF Health Africa, Ashesi University, University of Cape Town, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Moi University, University of Toronto, and The Mastercard Foundation. Also in attendance were members of the African Impact Challenge (AIC) 2022 and 2023 cohorts, many of whom are H2i mentored ventures, and other supported scholars. 

The convening was opened by University of Cape Town (UCT) who welcomed a member of the Khoi San, who acknowledged the land, language and culture of the meeting place. The convening held sessions for each of the three pillars, including Health Entrepreneurship (HENT), to converse about challenges and successes, and frame how collaborations have fostered success. H2i chaired two of the HENT sessions and was a member of a fireside discussion panel regarding youth training on the continent. This allowed for the Health Collaborative to look through the different lenses of professors, scholars, ventures, and pillar leads. 

Ventures from the AIC cohorts met with partners to share insights into their journeys as entrepreneurs to date. The ventures had the chance to formally present, as well as participate in a pitch session held in the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Vectorgram, AIC 2022 Cohort member and H2i venture, won the top venture prize and a $3000 Professional Service Voucher from H2i—congratulations, Team Vectorgram! 

The Convening concluded with a handover from UCT to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who will host the 2024 Convening in Ghana. 

The H2i team then spent another week in Cape Town working with UCT teams on entrepreneurship planning for execution on a program that will impact community health. 


The final leg of H2i’s trip took the team to Ghana, where they first met with KNUST in Kumasi. Meetings were held to discuss future H2i and KNUST collaborations on Master’s level training, and on HENT activities already in progress. The team toured their massive campus (>50 sqKm) and got to see where they will be building their new hospital and innovation hub. The KNUST and H2i teams also met with Nyaho Medical Centre in Accra, where they toured the facilities and discussed upcoming collaborations that could see ventures learning how their technologies work within field clinics. 

The team met with Social Entreprise (SE) Ghana, who will be partnering with H2i for the first international iteration of FemSTEM, along with H2i’s first co-sponsor of this event, Sustineri Attorneys. Together, the SE Ghana and H2i teams worked to identify and confirm judges and sponsorship for the first FemSTEM International Pitch Competition. 

Finally, H2i met with Ashesi University, engaging their CEO, Dr. Angela Owusu-Ansah, and their broader entrepreneurship team. The groups discussed the integration of their health innovation hub program within their broader ecosystem. 

As 2023 draws to a close, the H2i International team is reflecting with gratitude on a year of significant collaborations. It is our great pleasure to be a part of supporting health innovation both at home and in a global forum. We wait with great anticipation for more to come in 2024!