mLab startup support programme beneficiary Dr. Katherine Malherbe wins Best Female Founder award at the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance Conference in India

21 August, 2023



Zukanye Madakana

In a groundbreaking moment for both medical technology and gender empowerment, Dr. Katherine Malherbe, a visionary entrepreneur and lecturer emerged victorious at the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance Conference held in Bengaluru, India. 

The conference brought together more than 144 Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) from around the world to showcase their technological innovations. Dr. Malherbe’s triumph lay in her pitch of Medsol, an AI-assisted technology aimed at revolutionising the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

The G20 Digital Innovation Alliance Conference serves as a global platform for innovators to present their transformative ideas to an audience of experts, investors, and policymakers. With Medsol, Dr. Katherine Malherbe aimed to address one of the most pressing medical challenges of our time—breast cancer. Her innovative solution not only showcased the potential of AI and machine learning in healthcare but also highlighted the pivotal role of women in driving technology and medical advancements.                      

The Medsol Breakthrough

Medsol, developed by Dr. Katherine Malherbe, leverages the power of Artificial Intelligence to improve breast cancer diagnosis and treatment outcomes. Breast cancer remains a leading cause of mortality among women globally, and early detection is important for successful intervention. Medsol uses AI algorithms to analyse medical imaging data, helping medical professionals in accurately detecting and diagnosing breast cancer at an early stage.

Dr. Katherine Malherbe is a beneficiary of mLab’s startup support programme, TWIGA. TWIGA is  an ICT, Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme that supports startups who develop solutions in digital health and food security. The programme is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)  and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). 

Empowering Women in Technology and Medicine

Dr. Katherine Malherbe’s victory at the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance Conference is not only a triumph for Medsol but also a celebration of women’s contributions to the tech and medical sectors. 

“I always thought that there were many female CEOs in the start-up landscape globally, but I realised at the G20 that we are quite underrepresented in the fields of Tech start-ups. I am not intimidated by it, I actually love the challenge when a fellow male CEO comes up to me and starts talking numbers  or business lingo and thinking I can’t handle the pressure. They are usually then left speechless when I am able to stand my ground and refer back to ‘business lingo’ without batting an eyelid”, she said. 

Talking about this award being a big nod to her and how it speaks to the involvement of women in tech entrepreneurship, she added that  other female entrepreneurs must let this be an affirmation that gender should not be seen as a limitation to their success. “If anything, use it to your advantage, female SMME’s work harder, smarter and with more compassion” she entreated. 

A Promising future for Medsol and its target market 

As Dr. Katherine Malherbe’s Medsol gains global recognition and support, the prospect of more accurate and accessible breast cancer diagnosis and treatment comes closer to reality. 

“We understand the problem in the market and we have the best solution for it. It’s not just a diagnostic point of care system, we have joined hands with Astrazeneca. We are now bridging the gap between community education, to clinic screening and also then to have them referred to a dedicated breast cancer team thus offering a unique blueprint for patient referral pathways in South Africa and globally.” she said. 

In celebrating her Best Female Founder award, we also celebrate the spirit of innovation, empowerment, and progress. Dr. Katherine Malherbe’s story is a testament to the power of AI-assisted healthcare solutions, and the importance of recognising and amplifying the achievements of women in technology and medicine.