On June 19th, six incredible women-led health ventures took to the virtual stage for the
FemSTEM Africa Pitch Competition…

The FemSTEM Africa Pitch Competition was the culminating event of the inaugural FemSTEM Africa event series. The pitch competition, judged by a panel of industry experts gives up-and-coming healthcare innovators the opportunity to present their idea to the public and the chance to win funding and in-kind services to scale their project. This program was co-presented by H2i at the University of Toronto, SE Ghana and Sustineri Attorneys, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

The finalists, A-Lite Uganda Ltd, Eudio Mobile, PlyChain, PUMZI Devices Uganda Ltd, Remedius Mobile Health and URUKUNDO Initiative, were selected from a competitive pool of 24 applicants to present their 5-minute pitches for their chance to win. Pitches were presented to the over 70 guests present and the panel of four esteemed expert judges: Adwoa Birago NyantakyiGrace Almendras-CastilloLeah Nduati and Monica Kahindo.

Judges and audience members were amazed by all six finalists, as evidenced by the active discussion and engagement among the audience, and the judges’ fierce deliberation. A big congratulations to all finalists for so strongly showcasing your innovative health solutions and work to date!

Without further ado, we are pleased to announce and spotlight this year’s winners…

Grand Prize Winner: URUKUNDO Initiative

URUKUNDO Initiative, presented by Dr. Christelle Giraneza Uwantege, won the Grand Prize of $15,000 CAD in cash, as well as $5000 CAD in in-kind legal services from Sustineri Attorneys.

URUKUNDO Initiative is a youth led social enterprise committed to revolutionizing Life Skills especially Sexual Reproductive Health and Mental Health education in Africa through play based innovations. Through URUKUNDO Life Skills BOARD GAME; a globally multi-awards winning board and cards based game available physically and digitally which provide evidence based Life Skills information in friendly, interactive and inclusive fashion to young people everywhere. 

 “Pitching at the 2024 FemSTEM Africa was an exciting experience, and winning means the world to us. With these funds, we will enhance the design of the URUKUNDO Life Skills Board Game Digital Version and scale its reach across the East African Community. For me, as a female entrepreneur, this victory is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. It is my duty, as a young African lady privileged to be a medical doctor and a researcher in the field of gender, sexual and reproductive health, to share my knowledge and save lives by preventing teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among the youth in the African continent and beyond.”

– Dr. Christelle Giraneza Uwantege, Co-Founder and CMO, URUKUNDO Initiative

Runner Up: PUMZI Devices

PUMZI Devices Uganda Ltd, presented by Maureen Etuket was named as one of two Runners Up, taking home a prize of $5000 CAD in cash, as well as $5000 CAD in in-kind legal services from Sustineri Attorneys.

The Smart Postpartum Haemorrhage Volumetric Drape (SMART-PVD), by PUMZI Devices, is a device that performs accurate and real-time estimation of blood loss. The goal of this device is to aid in the timely diagnosis of Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) so as to drastically reduce maternal morbidity and mortality by empowering skilled birth attendants with a tool that enables them to make evidence-based decisions in the management of PPH while improving their productivity and patient satisfaction in the long run.

“On behalf of PUMZI Devices Uganda Limited, we were honoured to be selected as finalists and among the top three. We were inspired by the other participants and the medtech advancements in Africa, learning valuable business and marketing insights. The funding will be used to expand our IP protection in key African countries, establish a small-scale lab, and begin regulatory discussions. These steps will prepare us for a market launch in 2026.”

-Maureen Etuket, Co-Director, PUMZI Devices

Runner Up: PlyChain

PlyChain, presented by Yewande Akinse, was named as Runner Up, taking home a prize of $5000 CAD in cash, as well as $5000 CAD in in-kind legal services from Sustineri Attorneys.

PlyChain leverages blockchain technology to verify the authenticity of pharmaceuticals through secure QR codes, ensuring patient safety by providing an immutable, transparent record of each drug’s journey from manufacturer to consumer.

“I am grateful to the judges for selecting our progressive startup Plychain as one of the winners of the Femstem Africa Pitch Competition. The competition was truly fierce with so many promising startups in the lineup. For us, our innovation stood out. We intend to use the grant to improve our technology infrastructure, boost security and enhance our marketing efforts.”

-Yewande Akinse, Co-Founder, PlyChain