National Health Incubator (NHI)

NHI provides customized incubation and financing services for healthcare service providers and producers of healthcare technology and innovation across Pakistan. NHI was launched in 2020 in partnership with the Aga Khan University
to enable creation and growth of health technology and innovation in Pakistan.

National Health Incubator (NHI)

NHI provides customized incubation and financing services for healthcare service providers and producers of healthcare technology and innovation across Pakistan. NHI was launched in 2020 in partnership with the Aga Khan University
to enable creation and growth of health technology and innovation in Pakistan.

The ultimate goals of NHI are:

The ultimate goals of NHI are:

  • To provide design thinking workshops and prototype testing, customized business coaching, subject matter expertise, access to industry-specific research and data, access to co-working space(s), and investment readiness services to select businesses to help them develop, deploy and/or adopt emerging health technologies and innovation.
  • To enable select businesses to develop and execute a growth strategy through long term financing and commercial linkages.

Who Is This Program For?

Who Is This Program For?

Businesses with innovative and unique business models offering innovative, highly value-adding, scalable and technological health solutions, demonstrating potential for causing positive economic and social transformation will be preferred.

You are eligible to apply if you fall under one of the following segments:

  • Launch: Startups with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), an innovative solution in the health sector that has gone through the first customer test.
  • Growth: Existing health service providers who are looking to expand to new and bigger markets.
  • Adopters: Innovative health service providers looking to adopt new technology or update existing.

Components of National Health Incubator​

The National Health Incubator will bring together all the essential elements of the incubation program, starting with:

Ideation with Aga Khan University (AKU)

AKU houses multiple forums with the intention of promoting entrepreneurial mindset with critical thinking and innovation. Critical Creative Innovative Thinking (CCIT) and Clinical and Translational Research Incubator (CITRIC) at AKU medical college are platforms set up by AKU to encourage students and young professionals to pursue innovative and critical thinking in providing health care solutions. Moreover, AKU’s Innovation Hub works on AKU’s in-house innovation agenda in liaison with CCIT and CITRIC. In National Health Incubator, the role of CCIT, CITRIC and Innovation Hub will be:

Design Thinking Workshops: CCIT will help entrepreneurs convert their ideas into solutions and/or improve their existing solutions through the design thinking approach. It will also extend subject matter expertise to the entrepreneurs through researchers and practitioners from within AKU who will provide technical advice to the entrepreneurs on their solutions. AKU’s Innovation Hub will assist CCIT in identifying and providing subject matter experts and practitioners from within AKU for the cohort entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs in the cohort will also have access to CITRIC’s research and researchers who will help them find relevant material around their existing and/or intended solutions. Subject matter experts, who will consist of researchers and practitioners will adopt a diagnostic approach in their advisory sessions with entrepreneurs, understanding the need for the problem they are trying to address, viability of the solution being offered, and technical feasibility of the technology being adopted and/or produced.

Final Pitch

An Online Business Forum will be organized jointly by AP and AKU where select entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to showcase their businesses to AP, AKU and external institutional investors for raising investments. Moreover, a joint panel of judges selected by AP and AKU will score all pitches in order to shortlist businesses for potential investments. Following will be the outcome of the pitch session:
a- Financing Commitments by AP subject to due diligence for selected businesses. These businesses will be evaluated throughout the cycle for market and financial feasibility of the business, proactiveness and participation of the entrepreneur, potential for high growth and high impact business, and feedback by business coaches and investors.

Business Training, Coaching and Advisory Services

Businesses incubated will go through online business training, coaching and advisory processes. Following are the three components of business training and advisory:
a- Online Business Training: Entrepreneurs will be enrolled into our Learning Management System (LMS) called AKF Learning Hub where they will be introduced to basic concepts across four themes: i) Business Modelling, ii) Marketing and Sales Strategy, iii) Financial Modelling and iv) Pitch Making. At the end of each module, entrepreneurs will be required to submit assignments that will require them to complete and submit their business model canvas, marketing plan, financial model, and pitch decks.
b- Business Coaches: AP will assign business coaches to each business who will be responsible to coach the business throughout the course of incubation program on investment readiness. These are AP’s own investment team members who will provide follow-up support to entrepreneurs during and post trainings for executing key concepts learned in all modules. Business coaches also help entrepreneurs apply the investor lens on their business models throughout the course of incubation which helps them make their business proposition best fit for their own investment needs/ asks as well as the expectations of external investors including AP.
c-Technical Advisory: under this component entrepreneurs are connected with subject matter experts from the Aga Khan University, specializing in product/service development, design, and viability in the health sector. They provide personalized guidance, validate offerings, and share recent research and data. Benefit from their expertise to refine your products/services and stay ahead in the market.

These experts serve as a critical bridge between entrepreneurs and the latest research and data. Through their insights, entrepreneurs can fine-tune their offerings for maximum impact, addressing key questions and challenges. Whether it's design refinement, viability assessment, or incorporating industry trends, our experts are here to guide you every step of the way.

Tailored Financing

a- Due Diligence
Businesses shortlisted for potential AP investments will undergo comprehensive pre-investment due diligence (DD) by the AP’s investment team in order to validate their business models and investment requirements. AP will also seek assistance from the AKU’s Innovation Hub to provide notes on technical feasibility of the business’s products and services. The Innovation Hub would have completed this process in the ideation phase of incubation.
b- Financing
Select businesses completing AP’s DD will receive patient financing of up to US$200k with an opportunity to raise 3 times the amount by other institutional investors. AP offers three financing tiers: Seed Tier: <$20,000, Tier 1: $20,000<50,000, Tier 2: $50,000<$200,000. The amount of financing deployed depends on the overall need of the business, feasibility and absorption capacity of the business. AP extends financing for up to 10 years with long grace period with flexible terms.

Post Financing Technical Assistance

Following are key aspects of post-financing Technical Assistance:
a- Continued business mentoring, coaching and advisory from successful entrepreneurs, investors and AP’s business coaches.
b- Marketing, bookkeeping, and legal services
from top-of-the-line services providers, completely free of cost.
c- Market and commercial linkages in various industries nationally and internationally.
**This is exclusively offered to portfolio businesses i.e. businesses that have received financing from AP.

Access to Co-working Spaces

Entrepreneurs, during or after the cycle, will have access to Accelerate Prosperity co-working space available in Gilgit, Chitral at a nominal cost/rental. Space will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that enable working, innovative thinking, collaboration, networking opportunities and seeking guidance from subject matter experts, investors, mentors, and other successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs will also be able to use the space for online/ in person training and advisory services offered by National Health Incubator for up to 1 year.

Instrument: Patient debt Ticket Size: Up to PKR 30 Million Interest Rate: Net 8-12% Term:Up to 10 years Other Requirements:Mortgage land or building Financing Select businesses who complete the incubation program successfully pitch for APs financing


Select businesses who complete the incubation program successfully pitch for APs financing.


Patient debt

Ticket Size:

Patient debt

Interest Rate:

Net 8-12%

Ticket Size:

Up to 10 years

Other Requirements:

Mortgage land or building

The Complete Journey of an Entrepreneur

Business Criteria A unique and innovative business model with potential for causing or contributing to a transformative effect in the health sector, specifically in terms of improving quality of services, increasing access, convenience and/ or affordability. A clear market niche, sound target market and customer base. Realistic competitive advantage in terms of price, quality and easy/ large access. Strong revenue and profit models, potential for scalability and growth. Strong value chain effect. The business demonstrates positive environmental and sustainable development (impact) effect. Personal Criteria Strong entrepreneurial traits, including (but not limited to) leadership qualities, risk taking, street smartness, ability to do more with less etc. Coachable team, including (but not limited to) openness to advisory, learn, ability and openness to constantlyiterate, adapt and evolve based on changing conditions, realities or assumptions etc. Past experience in doing business, or as an employee in a similar industry, or subject matter expertise relevant to the product/ service. Strong interest in the health sector and the idea/ business being proposed, with significant skin in the business. Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria

Business Criteria

Personal Criteria

Meet Our Subject Matter Experts

Entrepreneurs will have access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from a pool of distinguished researchers and
practitioners from within AKU.

Dr Asad Mian

Professor Emergency Medicine, Director CCIT
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Dr Zahra Hoodbhoy

Assistant Professor Pediatrics and Child Health, AI Researcher
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Dr Irum Qamar

Assistant Professor Emergency Medicine, Faculty Innovator
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Khairunnissa Hooda

Chief Nursing Officer
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Dr Salman Kirmani

Former Chair Pediatrics and Child Health
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Dr Kulsoom Ghias

Chair Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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Saleem Sayani

Director Technology Innovation Support Centre
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Dr Mahreen Sulaiman

Co- Director, CCIT
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National Health Incubator 2022 Highlights


Accelerate Prosperity

The overall objective of the Accelerate Prosperity (AP) initiative is to promote entrepreneurship and the creation of sustainable Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs), with a focus on youth and women in fragile contexts. Its mandate is to facilitate creation of Small and Growing Businesses (SGB), which are “commercially viable businesses with a potential to create between 5 to 250 jobs”. This is a fit for purpose initiative undertaken by the Aga Khan Foundation and Industrial Promotion Services of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. AP complements broader economic-related programs of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and draws significantly on technical expertise from other AKDN institutions, whilst coordinating efforts with other partners. Ultimately, AP aims to contribute to inclusive economic development by catalyzing SGBs, promoting entrepreneurship amongst women and youth, and creating space and networks to facilitate technical expertise and creative financial solutions that can bridge the gaps between entrepreneurs, investors, governments and donors, as well as forging the link to higher learning, for the betterment of economic development.

The Aga Khan University

The Aga Khan University is a pioneering institution of higher education that works to improve quality of life in the developing world and beyond. The University operates programmes in campuses in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom, and treats more than 2 million patients per year at seven hospitals and more than 350 medical centres. A study of AKU’s impact in Pakistan, conducted by U.S.-based Centennial Group International, found that AKU has an annual economic impact in Pakistan of US$ 1 billion, and directly and indirectly supports 42,000 jobs annually.

Applications Closed for 2023