The NEPAD-Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) in collaboration with the BioFISA II Programme hosted the node coordinators on the 9th and 10th of December 2015 for a business plan training workshop at the at the NEPAD-SANBio Hub, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa, with participants also from the Hub itself. The purpose of the training was to provide node coordinators with extensive Business Plan and proposal writing skills in order for the nodes to focus resources mobilisation towards the Vision of the node.
The training was conducted by the CSIR Innovation Leadership and Learning Academy and covered the following areas: Essential Guidelines for Business Plans; Introduction to business planning; Elements of a successful business model; Tools, techniques and target-setting; Ways to ruin a Business Plan; Business Plan Outline; Uncertainty and risk; Decision-making and problem-solving; and Assessment and Integrative case study. The participants also learnt how to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of dragons.
All the node coordinators agreed that the training was most useful for developing the nodes’ business plans. When asked about the experience of the training, Mr Barnabas Kapange, SADC Plant Genetic Resource Centre Node representative, said: “The training is timely as the node will be developing a Business Plan attached to our proposal for submission to the BioFISA II Programme but it also can be used for developing other Business Plans in the future.”
Dr Henry Njapau, the Livestock Node representative, also alluded that he is now better positioned to prepare a Business Plan and even assess one: “I am planning to use the skills to develop a fully-fledged Business Plan for the node and also transfer skills to colleagues at the node and beyond.”
“The most interesting part of the training was when we learned that science projects can be seen as self-sustainable business entities. The importance of financial management and the understanding of it when speaking to potential funders also became clear”, said Dr Zodwa Mbambo, a CSIR Researcher. She further highlighted how the training was beneficial particularly on how to think differently about proposal writing and hearing the funders’ views.
The NEPAD-SANBio Secretariat and the BioFISA II Programme Unit thank the node coordinators for making time to attend the training, and look forward to seeing how the training is put to good use. Click here to see pictures