FemBioBiz entrepreneurs attend Cosmetics Formulation Training

Participants in the lab

Just a few weeks after the completion of Season 2 of the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme; finalists who competed under the Cosmetics category underwent training in Cosmetics Formulation. Held at the North West University (NWU) under the Preclinical Drug Development Platform (PCDDP), ten  FemBioBiz entrepreneurs from Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia gathered to not only learn  but to also build relationships.  

The five day Cosmetics Workshop was an intense session which covered a range of topics that were most relevant to the entrepreneur in the cosmetics industry.  These included topics such as product development gap analysis, extraction of active ingredients from natural sources, hands on clinical trials, occupational health & safety for the cosmetics industry, introduction to formulation development, cosmetic manufacturing facility and testing laboratory design;   and several others. 

A particularly interesting topic was that on product development gap design, which was presented by the director of the PCDDP Professor Anne Grobler under the topic: ‘Cosmetic Gap Analysis in SADC’. It gave the participants insight into the opportunities that still exists for cosmetics developed in SADC to trade across the borders. 

According to the SADC trade balance by product category in US$ millions, cosmetics in the essential oils category in 2016 traded were valued at $45 million; while beauty or make-up preparations and skin care were valued at a paltry -$92million.  The total amount of cosmetics from SADC in 2016, on the other hand was only -$538 million.  

These statistics presented at the beginning of the course, not only presented facts on the market opportunity for business owners in the cosmetics industry in SADC; they also motivated all in attendance at the workshop to persevere in their business growth aspirations. 

Other experts who taught during the training were Liezl-Marie Scholtz (NWU PDPP), Monica Young (Cosmetics Efficacy Lab) and Quintin Verloop to name just a few of the professionals who shared their knowledge with the entrepreneurs. 

For many of the women at the workshop, they operate their businesses from home and often times formulate their products in their kitchens. The opportunity to walk into a laboratory and use lab facilities for testing; was an eye opening, first-time occurrence. 

The hands on clinical trials, testing hair stands’ response to certain oils; as well as testing with instruments and technology used to test hydration and elasticity levels of skin are a few examples of the valuable exposure to best practices in the cosmetics industry, the FemBioBiz  participants had during the workshop.  

“I enjoyed everything about the training. It was well thought out,” said Ingrid Saurer owner of Belliche in Seychelles. Belliche is based in Seychelles and is a manufacturer of natural, chemical free bath and body care products. 

Although all the course material was valuable, what was arguably the favourite topic was the hands on formulating of creams, gels, rejuvenating foam and bubble bath.  

“I loved it so much! Before this, I was not settled on branding and packaging but thanks to the training, all is crystal clear,” said Ursula Banda from Malawi, whose product range includes moringa as a signature ingredient.

“Attending cosmetics formulation training is something which has helped me understand my business so much more. It has also helped to guide some of the decisions my business partner and I will make, with regard to product development and manufacturing from a facility or specially designed facility,” said Tuduetso Tebape, co-owner of Nubian Seed in Botswana. Nubian Seed is a manufacturer of natural personal care products, made from indigenous plant based ingredients sourced from various countries in Africa. 

By the end of the workshop, each business owner had developed a new found confidence and will to succeed in their business. 

“It has given me more ideas about structure and the way forward. I especially enjoyed the networking - that has been the most valuable for me,” said Ingrid, summing up the sentiments which were shared by all of the women who participated at the workshop. 

Organizers of theFemBioBiz Acceleration Programme demonstrated through sponsorship of this course how they continue to add value to the business growth and development of the programme’s participants.  

For the women who participated in the training, the five days at the North West University, were five days that have prepared them as cosmetics business owners; to set their businesses on a trajectory of positive growth.