One of the biggest regional research, development and innovation projects is back and even better.
After creating 6 start-up companies with 7 products that generated more than R500 000 in revenue; twenty-six industry-academia collaborations creating 40 non-permanent and 50 permanent jobs (direct and indirect) in 13 SADC member states, it is time to check-in.
Reports estimate that SMMEs and the informal sector will be worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understanding the effects of the pandemic on these sectors and in an effort to build resilient enterprises, the BioFISA II Programme – a Finnish-Southern African Partnership Programme to strengthen the Southern Africa Network for Bioscience, is launching the BioFISA II Biz-Boost with approximately R7 million investment towards innovations in health and nutrition to boost economic recovery and amplify job creation.
For enterprises to withstand challenges posed by the pandemic, they need to be able to pivot or expand current business solutions. This includes planned interventions such as e-commerce training and disruptive and incremental innovation.
To achieve this, the BioFISA II Biz-Boost will allow enterprises previously supported/funded during and BioFISA II Programme (Flagship/Seed Projects & FemBioBiz Season 1,2 & 3) to pivot solutions for COVID-19 or support existing solutions to withstand challenges posed by the pandemic.
BioFISA II Biz-Boost expected impact:
- At least 100 jobs created
- At least 1000 communities reached,
- At least 150 people trained in novel ways for economic recovery post the pandemic,
- 10 digital innovations developed and,
- 2 circular economy projects were piloted.
In addition to the support provided for economic recovery across the region and resilience, the programme will also help to contribute to SDG3, 5, 9, and 17. This is a much-needed intervention as according to the Goalkeeper’s Report 2020, the world has regressed in the progress made on these SDGs due to COVID-19.
AUDA-NEPAD SANBio Network Manager, Dr Ereck Chakauya: “The BioFISA II Programme has demonstrated how the need for stronger innovation networks North-South and South-South cooperation can contribute to the pandemic response.”
“The pandemic has demonstrated the strong need for both disruptive and incremental innovation to reduce the impact of the pandemic but prepare for doing business post the disease. Preference for funding will be given to SANBio/BioFISA II Alumni projects (Flagship, Seed Projects and FemBioBiz Season 1,2 and 3 enterprises) with a strong focus on scaling existing innovation for impact.”
In addition, the programme seeks to establish the feasibility of Biosciences innovations in supporting the circular economy, thus some projects will be supported on this subject.
Projects start 15 September 2021 and lookout in the next coming weeks to see which projects get selected!