Innovation hub’s Female in Bio-technology Businesses (FemBioBiz), a programme tailored to support women entrepreneurs in biotechnology innovations, has shortlisted 32 participants locally to represent the country in the next stages.
The programme creates a platform for women to network and access regional and international markets, obtain business development skills and access financing.
It also aims to address the gender gap in leadership positions in the bioscience-based businesses by imparting leadership and entrepreneurship skills to females.
Further, the programme acts as a stimulus for women to improve their businesses and set up best practices for other women to emulate.
According to Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) brand and communications manager, Kemiso Ben, they received more than 219 applications. Out of the 32 shortlisted, the final 17 were selected following last week’s pitching competition and awards at the hub in the third instalment of the programme.
“BIH remains committed to supporting women entrepreneurs leading bio technology innovations that are financially sustainable and socially responsible,” she said.
“FemBioBiz competition continues to contribute to the local and regional economy, by seeking out courageous female entrepreneurs who continuously innovate sustainable solutions for present and future generations.”
Ben said the awards ceremony is preceded by a series of workshops and coaching sessions for the 32 finalists to assist them to scale up their business ventures and to increase their value as leaders and role models in the community.
FemBioBiz, a programme by the Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) exist in eight SADC countries being Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Locally BIH serves as a strategic partner for the implementation of the FemBioBiz season three Acceleration Programme Competition.
The season targets female business owners who already run a company as well as entrepreneurial students with exciting business ideas involving agri-food, health bio-waste, natural beauty products or nutrition.
“Through the FemBioBiz, the female bio-entrepreneurs have grown their regional and international networks, as a result, some of them have expanded their businesses outside countries of origin,” she said. “Furthermore, some have received further funding to grow and expand their businesses aside from the skills obtained during the competition.”