Health Technology Innovation in Africa: Goizueta’s Core Values at Work
This summer, three GBS classmates and I had the opportunity to join in on an ongoing partnership which perfectly exemplifies Goizueta’s core value of Collaboration.
The partnership between the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostic Innovation (ANDI) and Emory kicked off this year; its goal is to support African scientist-entrepreneurs in bringing their biotech inventions through the most challenging periods of commercialization and all the way to market, where they can have real impact on people’s health and well-being. The biotech projects the partnership supports are local innovations driven by local talent in hopes of addressing pressing and traditionally-neglected local health needs.
For the first time, this year the partnership hosted a Health Technology Innovation workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. Emory faculty, an industry representative, and ANDI’s leadership collaborated to bring to the event their great wealth of knowledge. They led interactive sessions on entrepreneurship principles, intellectual property laws, the pharmaceutical industry and approval process, and critical partnership building, and the future of biotech in Africa.
Emory students from the business school, law school, and from doctoral-level science programs were invited to participate; we were divided into interdisciplinary teams and paired with one to two African entrepreneur-scientist teams. Together, we worked to apply the learnings of the workshops to build out business plans, pitch decks addressing key scientific and market-related questions, initial IP strategies, and plans to target potential partners and funders. Working on an interdisciplinary and multinational teams ensured that a diversity of knowledge, experience and mindset/viewpoint was brought to each group.
I learned a great deal from the entrepreneurs we worked with, particularly about the unique challenges they face in gaining funding for their work despite its high potential impact on the health of millions. As well, I learned from my Emory colleagues and the faculty about how to approach multifaceted and ambiguous issues from a variety of perspectives to build a robust case for investment. I believe we, the students, added value by helping to build plans with the elements I’ve mentioned, but also that our greater add will hopefully come as we continue to apply our learnings this year at Goizueta (and Emory at large) and in our future work. We can now be better advocates for a more just economic world, and for ensuring that talent and innovations for social good are not lost.
The Emory-ANDI partnership’s goal is to support African biotech entrepreneurs through identification, mentorship, and education and to educate Emory students and broaden our perspective. I believe Emory and Goizueta realize that these goals are best achieved through many layers of collaboration; I’m proud to see our values represented this way and translated into meaningful partnerships.
A huge thank you to all the supporters of this venture and the professors and professionals who volunteered their time!
Our GBS team: Professor Charles Goetz, Lauren Dawson, Alyssa Grabfield, and Teodor Stanilov.