2 African Social Impact Startups Earn A Spot In Google’s Inaugural Sustainability Accelerator

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Two African social impact startups have earned spots in Google’s inaugural startup Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals. mDoc co-founder Nneka Mobisson. Image – Cartier Women’s Initiative

Two African social impact startups, one from Nigeria and the other from Kenya, have earned a place in Google’s inaugural five-month startup accelerator program for businesses that are tackling poverty, hunger, and inequality.

Nigerian startup, mDoc, and Kenyan startup Solar Freeze are among 11 companies that have been selected by Google to participate in its first-ever cohort of the Google for Startups Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals, according to a Google blog.

Based in London, the five-month accelerator program began on April 21 with the first part conducted virtually due to COVID-19.

The startups are expected to benefit from virtual training sessions while the founders work closely with Google engineers and experts to address product, engineering, business development, and funding challenges.

Nigerian startup mDoc uses a digital platform and in-person hubs to support people living with chronic diseases including diabetes and hypertension. The platform provides tools that help individuals with chronic conditions to track and improve their health.

A pediatrician by training, mDoc co-founder Nneka Mobisson has an MBA from Yale University and she completed her pediatrics residency at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Before launching mDoc with co-founder Imo Etuk, Mobisson was the executive director for Africa at the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a leading global health organization focused on healthcare quality improvement.

Based in Johannesburg, mDoc co-founder and chief technology officer Etuk earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and an electrical engineering degree from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Solar Freeze from Kenya provides mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for smallholder farmers to help them reduce post-harvest loss in the developing world.

In sub-Saharan Africa, around 32 percent of crops produced — 1.3 billion tons — are wasted due to post-harvest loss. That’s enough food to feed around 1.6 billion people, according to a Deloitte study.

Solar Freeze founder Dysmus Kisilu is a Kenyan social entrepreneur who was chosen as a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders. In 2018, Kisilu was awarded the Gates Foundation’s Goalkeeper award for youth-focused work through his startup.

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The other nine startups selected to take part in the Google accelerator include Kenya-based Flare (founded by Americans), Apic.ai and Ororatech from Germany, Cervest.earth and Ellipsis.earth from the U.K., Everimpact from France, Pakistani startup Wondertree, Israeli firm Oko, and Skilllab from the Netherlands.

mDoc co-founders Imo Etuk (second from left) and Nneka Mobisson (second from right) with US AID Nigeria Mission Head, Stephen Haykin (far left), HPN Lead, Paul McDermott (center) and Logistics Lead, Emmanuel Ogwuche (far left).
Bill Gates (left) with Amika George (center) and Dysmus Kisilu (right).