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Media Invite

Pretoria, South Africa

21 August 2017

For Immediate Release

Female-owned bio-businesses from the Southern Africa region pitching during SA Innovation Summit in finale of the SANBio FemBioBiz Acceleration Competition, with the chance to win up to ZAR 250,000 (approximately US$18,000) and a trip to Finland to the SLUSH event.

The NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio), with support from the BioFISA II Programme, launched an acceleration programme aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs in biosciences, the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme. SANBio is a platform for shared biosciences research, development and innovation to address health and nutrition challenges in Southern Africa and it is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa.

156 applicants from 9 SADC countries applied to be part of the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme and over 100 participants were trained in pitch training. Fifteen passionate female entrepreneurs who are intent on making a difference to their worlds and others were shortlisted and provided with mentorship support over a one month period. These participants will now go through the final leg of the competition and pitch for the ultimate prize at the South Africa Innovation Summit. These entrepreneurs represent South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Mauritius.

The overall best performer will receive a grant of R250 000 to move the business forward and a trip to attend Europe’s leading start-up event Slush 2017 in Helsinki, Finland from 30 November – 1 December 2017.

Media is invited to attend the FemBioBiz pitching sessions at the SA Innovation Summit.

For previous coverage of the past FemBioBiz events, visit: http://nepadsanbio.org/press-room-media/videos

 For more information, please contact:

Ms Zvikomborero Tangawamira, BioFISA II Programme Manager at 060463 1220 or 012 842 7334 or ztangawamira@csir.co.za

Mrs Margaretha van Schalkwyk, Event organiser at 073 597 2010 or fembiobiz@nepadsanbio.org

About SANBio

The Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) is a shared biosciences research, development and innovation platform for working collaboratively to address some of Southern Africa’s key biosciences issues in health, nutrition and health-related intervention areas such as agriculture and environment. The platform provides access to world-class laboratories for African and international scientists conducting research on Africa’s biosciences challenges. It is one of the five Networks under the Consolidated Plan of Action for Science and Technology (African Biosciences Initiative) and was officially launched in August 2005. The NEPAD SANBio Network was reconfigured in response to the 4 Pillars and 6 Priority Areas of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024 – a 10-year strategy which is part of the long-term African Union Agenda 2063). STISA-2024 envisages the accelerated transition of largely commodity-based African economies to innovation-led, knowledge-based economies.

About BioFISA II

Since 2009, the BioFISA Programme, established between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), has supported the NEPAD SANBio Network. The first phase of the programme was launched in the beginning of 2009 and lasted until the end of September 2012. The second phase, BioFISA II, is a four year programme that is being implemented since 2015 to 2019 with a total budget of EUR 7.82 million, contributed from Finland, South Africa and participating SADC member states.

About the SA Innovation Summit

The SA Innovation Summit supports and promotes innovation and facilitates collaboration among multi-helix actors to inspire sustained economic growth in South Africa. The outcomes achieved by the Summit, amplify and revive South Africa’s renowned competitive edge and it is a powerful tool to bring together thought leaders and practitioners in the field of innovation, show-case success stories, provide entrepreneurial support and accelerate growth.

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