Coopen: Call for Innovators – Health and Well-being


The call is open to innovators, start-ups, research groups, university departments and spin-offs, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in creating an impactful project in Africa together with an Italian Civil Society Organization. 

After the first two Calls for Innovators dedicated to Circular Economy and Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Coopen is promoting a third Call dedicated to innovative companies active in the Health and Well-being sector.

Creating an impactful innovation in Africa by building a partnership with Italian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). This is the goal of Coopen’s Call for Innovators –  Health and Well-being. Coopen is a participative programme supported by Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo as part of the Innovazione per lo Sviluppo (Innovation for Development) project.

The Call for Innovators – Health and Well-being targets the wider sector of innovation by including innovators active both in Italy and Africa: among others, university spin-offs and departments, research centers, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), individual innovators.

Innovators are invited to respond to the challenges identified by a group of Italian CSOs involved in the previous steps of Coopen.

The Challenges

The goal of this call is to identify up to 15 teams of innovators that will participate in a Demo Day by the end of January 2022.

During the Demo Day, up to 7 teams will be chosen to create a partnership with Italian CSOs to develop an innovative solution for one of the following 7 challenges (identified by the Italian CSOs during the Participatory Table):

  • Promote the training of the qualified medical and healthcare personnel
  • More efficient medical instruments and devices
  • Maintenance of the medical equipment and instruments
  • Construction of healthcare environments and infrastructures
  • Collect and organise the clinical data
  • Access to treatment and communication
  • Prevention in local communities and vulnerable groups

Among the Italian CSOs that took part in the Participatory Table on Health and Well-being, we find: Amref Health Africa – Italia, CBM Italia, COL’OR ONG Onlus, Comunità di S. Egidio ACAP, CVCS – Centro Volontari Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, Collegio Universitario Aspiranti Medici Missionari – C.U.A.M.M, Fondazione Piero e Lucille Corti Onlus, ProgettoMondo Movimento Laici America Latina Onlus, Rainbow4Africa Onlus.

Three Reasons to Participate

  1. Build a partnership with an Italian organization interested in developing an innovative solution with a substantial project
  2. Test and validate your technology or innovation in the field
  3. Receive funding to cover costs (e.g. IT, marketing, business development, etc.)

Requirements to Apply

To answer the call, innovators must:

  • African candidates must work in one of the following African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda;
  • Italian candidates must be willing to work in one of the following African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda;
  • Candidates need to have developed initiatives and/or technologies with a 3-6 Technology Readiness Level (a chart to measure your TRL level is available here).

All the requirements for participation are available in the Call text, accessible here: 

Candidates can submit their proposals by filling out the application form at the following link: 

The deadline for proposals is 11:59 pm (Central European Time – CET) on 08 November 2021.

The Selection Process

Up to 15 teams will be selected at the Call for Innovators – Health and Well-being. They will then go on to participate in the Demo Day, in January 2022.

During Demo Day, up to a maximum of 7 teams will be chosen to take part in the next phase of Coopen: a mentoring process with those CSOs that presented a challenge for the grounding of a substantive pilot project in a specific African country. This gives the innovators the chance to test and validate, in the field, their proposal to meet some of the health challenges in Africa.

The Foundations will grant the CSO leader 90,000 euros for each project to cover the costs faced by the CSO and innovators to implement the solution. At the discretion of the Foundations promoting the initiative, this contribution may be higher if there is more than one CSO involved in the project.

What Is Coopen?

Coopen is a participative process promoted by Innovazione per lo Sviluppo, a program supported by the Cariplo and Compagnia di San Paolo Foundations to promote innovation in the international cooperation and development field. Coopen receives technical support from Cariplo Factory, Tiresia, JengaLab and Effecinque.

The four phases of the Coopen programme:

  1. BUILD – Call for Interest and Roundtables
    Finding the CSOs that will participate and co-design the challenges to present at the future Calls for Innovators.
  2. CHALLENGE – Call for Innovators
    Launching Calls in 3 areas open to the sector of innovation: Circular Economy, Sustainable Nutrition and Agriculture, Health and Well-being.
  3. TEST – Incubation and Acceleration
    Creating partnerships between CSOs and innovators. Coopen will make the necessary organizations and resources available to cover the costs of designing and developing innovations.
  4. EXECUTE – Mentorship and Creation
    Grounding and launching the project in the target country.

After the Call for Interest for CSOs (Phase 1 – Build) launched in July 2020 and the two Calls for Innovators dedicated to Circular Economy and Food and Sustainable Agriculture (Phase 2 – Challenge), it is now time for the Call for Innovators – Health and Well-being.

For 2020-2021, the overall resources dedicated to Coopen by Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo total 1.8 million euros. These funds will support the design, implementation and development of the innovations, including the costs of incubation, acceleration, and mentorship.

Call for Innovators –Health and Well-being: Key Dates

  • Collection of the applications: from 13 September 2021 to 8 November 2021 (by 11:59 pm CET).
  • Assessment of the applications: up to a maximum of 15 Innovators who will participate in the Demo Day will be selected by 20 December 2021.
  • Demo Day: up to a maximum of 7 innovator teams who will pass on to the next phase will be identified by the end of January 2022.
  • Project presentation in cooperation with the CSO(s): February 2022.
  • Incubation/acceleration process: three-month duration (from April 2022 to July 2022).
  • Pilot project implementation: four months from the end of the incubation/acceleration process.

Questions about the Call

Check the Frequently Asked Questions file on the website.

For more information, please send an email to

Innovazione per lo Sviluppo

Innovazione per lo Sviluppo (Innovation for Development) is a program funded by Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo to promote innovation in international cooperation development through: open innovation / challenges, training and events / networking. The program involves partners from the world of innovation and technology (information for development, digital manufacture, ICT for Development).

Watch the project presentation video (with subtitles in English and French):

Important Links

>> Call info

>> FAQs

>> Application form