Merck – Make-IT Africa Startup Program

Get your startup to the next level

The Program


The “Joint “Merck & GIZ Start-up Support Programme” aims to contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal # 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. More specifically, the objective is to identify innovative approaches at an early stage and scale them into sustainable businesses.

The programme focuses on tech start-ups that increase access to health services across all social groups and reduce health inequalities within and between countries. The appropriate use of technology will advance this agenda by enhancing sustainability and reducing poverty.

Focus Areas


  • Digital Solutions in the Healthcare Sector

    Primary access to healthcare and healthcare services is key to enable healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. The application of technological solutions can contribute to increased efficiency of healthcare through enhanced access, improved affordability and also innovative diagnostic services and administration processes.

  • Bio-Sensing and Interfaces

    “Bio-Sensing and Interfaces” focuses on the interface between the biological and digital world. Around the world, healthcare costs have reached all-time highs, pharmaceutical industry productivity is decreasing, and drugs are becoming more expensive. This situation is unsustainable in the long run. Digital technologies have enormous potential for delivering the needed change. Hence, the aim is to decentralise and democratise the healthcare model and empower patients to better manage their health.

  • Liquid Biopsy Technologies

    “Liquid Biopsy Technologies” focuses on technological solutions for overcom unresolved challenges in the liquid biopsy workflow, as well as for applications beyond cancer. With the recent advent of liquid biopsy as a new sampling and testing method, non-invasive alternatives to traditional tissue-based diagnostics are beginning to be applied more and more in clinical contexts, thereby reshaping the process of detecting and managing various diseases.


Business Case Development

Bootcamp in Nairobi to ideate and develop business cases.
Business support, technical support, online mentoring and coaching.
Scale-Up Diagnostics and Design for Scale Training.

Ecosystem Learning Journey

Spotlight and exhibition at the South Africa Innovation Summit.
Spotlight and Demo Day at Merck in South Africa.
Spotlight and exhibition at MEDICA in Germany.

Corporate Collaboration

Trip to Merck Innovation Center to pitch for a collaboration project with Merck at their HQ

Connect and Community

Three meet-ups in each focus region, to connect with a rich community of founders & innovators, exchange ideas and build lifetime connections.

Access to Make-IT Fellowship

Investor meet-ups.
Business opportunities.
Potential exposure measures.



June 21st – July 19th

Nairobi Bootcamp

August 5th – August 9th

Innovation Summit South Africa

September 9th – September 13th

Selection Days and Medica Germany

November 18th – November 27th

Meet the Start-ups

Akili Labs

Bluewave Insurance



Strategic Partner

Implementation Partner