Merck Make-IT Africa Startup Program for Entrepreneurs 2019

Applications are invited from Innovative and Ambitious Start-ups with a Sustainable Business Model in Different Areas for the Merck Make-IT Africa Startup Program.

Are you a start-up working towards the SDG’s and are based in Africa?

Are you working at the cutting edge of innovation to solve real-life problems?

Is your start-up innovation related to Healthcare, Life Sciences, Performance Materials, and Merck’s innovation focus areas?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above. Then we are looking for you! The Joint Start-up Programme, a collaboration between Merck Accelerator with Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative “Make-IT in Africa” is your gateway to quickly explore and validate the potential for co-creating and working in in the health sector especially in partnership with Merck.

Focus Areas.

  • Digital Solutions in the Healthcare Sector
  • Bio-Sensing and Interfaces
  • Liquid Biopsy Technologies


  • Open to startups registered in an African country and operative for at least a year
  • Have a business model with a focus on the SDG’s and a solution in the fields of Healthcare, Life Sciences, Performance Materials and other search fields such as Biosensing and Interfaces, and Liquid Biopsy Technologies
  • Start-ups with at least 2 cofounders
  • The team supports gender equality and diversity
  • Applicants must be fluent in English


This is your gateway to quickly explore and validate the potential for co-creating and working in partnership with Merck and profit from the broad network of Make-IT in Africa. In addition, they have a few perks for the best start-ups:
  • Business Case Development:
    • Fully paid bootcamp in Nairobi for top 20 start-ups (5 per each region) to ideate and develop business cases for collaboration with Merck
    • Continuous business support, technical support and online mentoring and coaching
    • Scale-Up Diagnostics and Design for Scale Training
  • Ecosystem Learning Journey:
    • Spotlight and exhibition at the South Africa Innovation Summit in Cape Town for 4 finalists
    • Spotlight and Demo Day at Merck in South Africa for 4 finalists
    • Spotlight and exhibition at MEDICA conference in Dusseldorf for 4 finalists
  • Corporate Collaboration: A fully paid trip to Merck Innovation Center at the HQs to pitch for a collaboration project with Merck for 4 finalists
  • Connect and Community: Three meetups in each focus region will be conducted to connect with a rich community of founders and innovators in your region going through the same challenges, as you exchange ideas and build lifetime connections.
  • Access to Make-IT Fellowship:
    • Investor meetups
    • Business opportunities
    • Potential exposure measures

Method of Application

The program will be targeting start-ups across Africa.

There is one application platform where participants will be required to specify which region they are applying from and where their business is registered: North Africa, Eastern Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa.

Application PhaseJune 21 – July 17 2019
Selection interviewsJuly 11 – July 18 2019
Nairobi: BootcampAugust 5 – August 10 2019
South Africa: Innovation SummitSeptember 09 – September 13 2019
Germany: Medica and Selection DaysNovember 18 – November 27 2019