With health technology investing at an all-time high, a key question must guide the support of critical new health innovations: How do we uplift entrepreneurs who are addressing society’s toughest challenges in high-need communities?
The answer is simple. For health impact entrepreneurs to succeed, we must build capacity. This is a particular need in healthcare impact investing, which is not as well-established as other industries. A recent Global Impact Investor Network report shows that impact investing is on the rise — yet only 7% of more than $700 billion in capital is dedicated to health.
That is where Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures comes in; we believe by combining our patient capital with our expertise in science and health, we can support entrepreneurs and help accelerate progress towards creating a more equitable future for all. J&J Impact Ventures, launched in 2019, is part of the Johnson & Johnson Foundation’s efforts dedicated to advancing health for humanity. J&J Impact Ventures aims to further Johnson & Johnson’s commitments to address social challenges including supporting health workers and improving health equity.
One way J&J Impact Ventures is working to make healthcare more equitable is by investing $50 million in digital innovations to expand culturally competent care. To help these inspired early-stage businesses thrive, we launched an accelerator program with VilCap Investments to help entrepreneurs such as Radical Health and Ayana Therapy refine and grow their business models.
From there, we selected a cohort of 12 entrepreneurs whose solutions ranged from removing the stigma of mental health help-seeking among marginalized communities to a woman-focused digital dermatology clinic — and paired them with Johnson & Johnson experts. As employees of the largest, most broad-based healthcare company in the world, we are privileged to work with top scientists, supply chain experts and finance professionals; their talents, combined with their networks, are invaluable resources to help entrepreneurs jumpstart their businesses. And these collaborations are incredible learning opportunities for both the entrepreneur and the J&J veteran, with relationships enduring beyond the program.
We recently launched similar efforts to expand start-up capacity worldwide, including in Indonesia. The SEHAT Impact Accelerator is a program for select purpose-driven healthcare start-ups. Nine entrepreneurs with businesses ranging from mental health to blockchain health records were offered mentorship, guidance and support with the goal of building a foundation to ultimately scale a breakthrough company.
Ibunda beat out eight competing businesses, winning the top award for its combination of impact and business potential. As a mental health platform providing both on- and offline services, Ibunda aims to close the gap in access to Indonesian mental health care and expand understanding of mental health challenges That includes improving referrals to psychologists and psychiatrists and transforming perceptions of mental health through virtual support groups, company partnerships and other programs. Ibunda has served more than 1 million people in the last three years and is looking to triple its reach in the next 18 to 24 months.
“The SEHAT Impact Accelerator has provided us with comprehensive insights and guidance in every workshop,” said Lady Noor Chita Mawardi, co-founder of Ibunda. “The mentoring by Mr. Ajeesh Ashraf of Johnson & Johnson was very insightful, yet fun at the same time. We always leave each session with lots more to do. With his experience and knowledge, and his eagerness to know more about Ibunda, we made much progress during this time.”
Ashraf found the collaboration rewarding, too. “The passion and drive of the team trying to make a difference to humanity is simply amazing,” he said. “I see mentoring them in this endeavor as nothing short of a privilege.”
Endeavors like SEHAT unite a range of people, skills and perspectives, part of J&J's comprehensive effort to engage employees worldwide. Chief among these is Talent for Good, a strategy that empowers J&J staff to share their knowledge and experiences through volunteer opportunities that support community partners. As J&J experts champion creative health entrepreneurs with their unique scientific and financial knowhow through programs including J&J Impact Ventures and Talent for Good, we hope to bring more and more colleagues into this important work going forward.
Ultimately, our aim is to help cultivate a legion of health impact entrepreneurs whose businesses are improving the lives of more people than ever, creating a future where good health is within reach of everyone, everywhere.
About the Johnson & Johnson Employee Engagement Strategy “Talent for Good”
The Talent for Good strategy aspires to activate our nearly 140,000 employees from across the globe to grow personally and professionally by applying their time, skills and resources to build healthier communities around the world. From donations to fully immersive assignments with NGO partners, Talent for Good creates opportunities for employees at all stages of their career to play their part in creating positive and meaningful change. Follow #TalentForGood to read other inspiring stories about how J&J employees and partners are collaborating to build a healthier, more equitable world.