Africa continues to be defined by stereotypes: it is poor; it is conflict-ridden; it is starving and dangerous. Subsequently we have come to believe and even been retold our own narrative based on this skewed perception.
SANBio/BioFISA II programme, through its Season 2 FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme is putting a spotlight on women led bio-business initiatives with innovations that have the potential to transform the health and nutrition status of the SADC region at this year’s SA Innovation Summit in Cape Town 12-13 September 2018.
For the first time, the African narrative will be told to the rest of the world in its authentic light by 32 female and student bio-entrepreneurs that are on the quest for innovation African solutions.
Selected from 500 applications around 10 SADC countries, the group was chosen from the following categories; students, agro-processing, agricultural technologies, biotechnology, health and cosmetics.
This season’s innovations are largely driven by rising trends in indigenous knowledge value addition: Africa’s abundant natural resources are finally getting the recognition they deserve as bio-business start-up ecosystems across the SADC become innovative.
The time for the rise of the female bio-entrepreneurs has come; meet some of the participants who are game changers in their communities:
Botswana International University of Science and Technology student, Bame Rammala who intends to design an antimicrobial polymer mat for toilet seats that has the capacity to eliminate or inhibit the growth of microbes. The mat will be produced from nanostructured cellulose fibres, an abundant and biodegradable polymer.
Clara Penicela a student from Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique is working on a processing company of cassava to produce cassava/manioc flour and puree of instant cassava. The product will show people that cassava can be enjoyed from people from all backgrounds and not just the poor. She also hopes that by adding value to cassava she will also be helping small farmers and encouraging them to produce cassava on a larger scale.
Another pioneering female to watch out for is Zimbabwe participant, Sicelo Dube of L.E.C. Biotec who supplies laboratory equipment and consumables to educational institutions, medical laboratories, research and development institution in different sectors. The company is currently embarking on a bio-innovation strategy for import substitution with a short term objective of manufacturing molecular reagents and long term objective of manufacturing enzymes with a special focus for the health, food and beverage customer segment.
Africa continues to exhibit potential and great optimism and it is for this reason that SANBio/ BioFISA II programme has committed to create a network of women bio entrepreneurs in the region by providing support to entrepreneurs for the acceleration of her business.
The regional grand finale will be held on 12 – 13 September, 2018 at the FemBioBiz main pitching and SA Innovation Summit, Cape Town Stadium.
The best performers will receive prizes from SAB Foundation, Merck and other partners to move their businesses forward and a trip to attend Europe’s leading startup event Slush 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.
SA Innovation Summit is a platform for nurturing, developing and showcasing African innovation. Created to support and promote innovation and facilitate collaboration within its own eco-system, the initiative brings together corporates, thought leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs, and academia and policy makers to amplify South Africa's renowned competitive edge.