Female-led innovations in indigenous health, food, body & skincare products presented their exciting businesses in a series of 3-minute, elevator pitches at the 4th instalment of the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme hosted by Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub (BDIH), in partnership with SANBio (Southern Africa Network for Biosciences).
The FemBioBiz, a programme by the Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) exists in 8 SADC countries being Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Botswana, the Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub serves as a strategic partner for the implementation of the FemBioBiz Season 4 Acceleration Programme Competition.
FemBioBiz is a programme that guides and mentors entrepreneurial women running their own businesses in various bioscience disciplines such as agri-food, health, bio-waste and natural cosmetics. It is a 4-month programme that culminates with the entrepreneurs pitching their ideas where they stand a chance to represent Botswana at the final stage and have access to further business mentorship, markets and finance to help them build sustainable businesses. Winning cash prizes is a cherry on top.
“One of our sustainability key performance indicators as stewards of the digital and innovation drive in Botswana, is to ensure empowerment and inclusion of women in the bioscience space in a meaningful way. Our partnership with SANBio gives these female-led businesses access to a network of resources and tools that will better assist them in becoming global disruptors in big industries such as the natural health and body care sector. The competition aptly comes as we approach the end of women’s month, but that should not be the end of championing women in entrepreneurship and innovation.” said Kemiso Ben, BDIH Brand & Communications Manager.
Eight companies participated in the FemBioBiz pitches, demonstrating the growth and diversity in the emerging, local, natural products landscape.
• Skin Glow: a skincare brand that offers sun protection and treats skin exposure to the sun, such as dark marks and sun burn.
• Rioqut Healthy Living: health foods company that produces extra virgin avocado oil, giving people access to alternative healthy oils.
• Lu & B: A natural foods & skin care company that uses extracts from African seeds, plants and other raw products to create organic skincare and edible products like honey.
• Keonee Soaps: Natural skincare brand that produces soaps and body scrubs that exfoliates the skin and helps clear dark spots and acne.
• Glow in a Jar: Natural skin care brand with a product range for all skin types that moisterizes the skin and helps clear uneven pigmentation on the skin.
• Naturomedic: A natural health and wellness company that focuses on prevention and reversal of chronic diseases by providing a range of herbal and organic teas and supplements.
• Phatsima Innovations: A health and beauty producer that uses the nutritional and health benefits of the Moringa Tree to produce soap, moisturizers and edible products to help combat mineral deficiencies and skin problems, and boost the immune system.
• Calla Lily Cosmetics: a natural cosmetics company that uses practical, environmentally friendly packaging for its Shea Butter whip that helps hydrate and moisturize the skin while also helping with hair retention.
The winning companies were:
– Phatsima Innovations- 1st Place: P25,000.00
– Skin Glow-2nd Place: P15,000.00
– Naturomedic-3rd Place: P5,000.00
“Africa is in a unique position with the wealth of indigenous resources and emerging group of curious innovators that are creating biotech-oriented products, businesses and industries. Women are also standing up more, demanding to be included in this environment not just as consumers but creators and the FemBioBiz Programme is a useful platform to support this growing cohort, regionally. It’s an exciting time for the many young women who are aspiring to make an impact in the biotech and bioscience industries.” Said Obakeng Segwagwe, BDIH Programmes Manager.
*Brand & Communications Manager, Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub