SA investor sets aside funds to train Zim entrepreneurs

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A SOUTH African biotechnology incubation company has set aside R350 000 to train Zimbabwean entrepreneurs and innovators on start-ups to broaden their projects and expose them to potential investors. One-Bio, a Cape Town-based company has partnered with local innovation hub, TechVillage, to identify three local biotech innovators who are struggling to expand their projects. One-Bio co-founder, Dr Nick Walter, was in Bulawayo yesterday where he met local biotech start-ups and invited them to apply for the fully funded growth exposure opportunity.

In an interview, Dr Walter said his organisation was ready to incubate Zimbabwean biotech start-up companies.

“What we do is we help small start-up companies in biotech technology and we help them to scale and grow their business. We really try and teach scientists to be entrepreneurs.

“We are based in Cape Town and we are running our first programme this year. The programme costs about R350 000 and it’s totally free for the start-ups,” he said.

“The programme that we are running is in conjunction with the Finland government and in their funding they said we work with a Southern African country and we got hold of TechVillage. We are going to take five start-up companies from South Africa and three from Zimbabwe-all in the Biotech space.”

Dr Walter said the training programme will run for six months, which will see successful candidates getting their training in Cape Town where the company is based. He said the company has opened up a window for applications with deadline set for March 10 while the programme will start on May 13 ending in October.

Biotechnology creative entrepreneurs, he said, can apply for the opportunity on www.onebio.africa/apply. He urged Government to support biotech start-ups as a sector with great capacity to solve problems affecting the continent.

“It’s a high growth sector, Africa has a lot of potential and we think that Africa has great scientists and we really think we should be setting up more biotech companies. These start-ups require all the support they deserve. We want to get the start-ups investor ready. We want them to be ready to speak to investors, so that they know what the investors are looking for. At the end of our programme we want them to pitch their ideas to investors,” he said. — chronice.co.zw

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