Global competition seeking healthcare innovators

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), an initiative of Qatar Foundation, announces the launch of its 2024 Innovation Competition, inviting entrepreneurs and startups to showcase groundbreaking solutions that address the world's most urgent healthcare challenges.

Entrepreneurs in the health sector and representatives from incubation centres are encouraged to apply. Early to mid-stage health-focused startups and innovators selected through a judging process will be invited to exhibit at the prestigious WISH 2024 international healthcare summit, set to take place on 13-14 November, Qatar, at the Qatar National Convention Centre, Doha.   

The WISH Innovation Competition comprises two categories: ‘Young Innovators’ for health startups led by founders 30 years and younger; and ‘Innovation Showcases’ for health startups that have moved beyond the ideation phase and established their market presence for up to five years. The winner in each category will receive an investment award.

Proposals can showcase innovative solutions across all spectrums of healthcare, with an emphasis on digital health. The judging committee will assess entries based on impact, novelty, and growth potential.

In addition to the investment award, key companion benefits of the WISH Innovation Award Program, which incorporates the two competition categories, include networking opportunities with like-minded startups, health experts, investors, and local incubation centres; and access to sessions with industry experts to learn about marketing, social media, presenting, and pitching to investors. Winners will also receive an invitation to showcase their innovations at WISH 2024, which will bring together healthcare providers, ministers, insurers, investors, and industry experts.

Maha El Akoum, Manager of Policy and Content, WISH, said: "WISH is proud to announce the launch of this year’s Innovation Competition. The Young Innovators award seeks to discover, support and propel forward the next generation of healthcare innovators. WISH believes that young entrepreneurs are vital to transformative health solutions, and this competition aims to provide them with a platform to showcase their early-stage startups. In addition, the Innovation Showcases category provides a stage for established startups to exhibit their novel solutions and business models."

WISH 2022 grand prize winner Katarina Hedbeck, CEO and Co-Founder of a startup called Tada Group said: “Winning a grand prize in the WISH 2022 Innovation Competition was life changing for our start-up. We managed to raise 10 million Swedish kronor (about $970,000 USD) from investors in the two months following the win, allowing us to build momentum at a key moment.

“But that was just the icing on the cake, really. The opportunities that came from being shortlisted were extraordinary: from the networking opportunities at WISH to the coaching we received, it was a profound journey from the moment we were selected, for which I am extremely grateful. I would recommend applying to anyone with a health-focused startup.”

The WISH Innovation Award Programme was launched in 2013 and has supported a total of 148 innovators from 36 different countries to date. Among those innovations supported are practical devices, design-based solutions, and integrated software applications, all aimed at making global healthcare more affordable, sustainable, and accessible.

Innovators are encouraged to apply via The deadline for applications is 15 July 2024. Shortlisted projects will be announced by August 2024.