OneBio, a specialised biotech incubator in Cape Town, will launch its first incubation programme for early-stage Southern African and Zimbabwean biotech entrepreneurs in May 2019.
Applications are now open for biotech startups seeking support to drive change in Africa.
The programme is run in partnership with TechVillage, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur support organisation; and funded by the Finnish government through their Southern African Innovative Support (SAIS) initiative and the South African government’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).
OneBio is a joint venture between entrepreneurs, Michael Fichardt and Dr. Nick Walker, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) and the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). The programme has been created in response to the growth of investment seen in biotech startups around the world and the opportunities in the African biotech startup ecosystem.
The incubation programme will run over six months, delivering three bootcamps, virtual workshops, expert coaching sessions and tailored online content. The bootcamps will take place in Cape Town, with accommodation and flights sponsored for SA startups needing to travel. Co-working space and lab facilities will be provided to startups in Cape Town and Bulawayo.
Selected participants will have access to lab facilities, co-working space, innovative excursions and inspirational fireside chats. Introductions to potential partners and funders will form an integral part of this framework. The programme is free for successful participating startups and valued at over R350k per business. It will culminate in a Demo Day where entrepreneurs will pitch their companies to a room full of local investors.
“In the past year, OneBio has been working with biotech entrepreneurs and has been blown away by the talent and potential of the region’s startups,” states Michael Fichardt, CEO and Co-Founder of OneBio. “The programme is purposed to source, amplify and accelerate local life science talent and support a new wave of biotech success stories for Southern Africa. We encourage scientists, bio-hackers, entrepreneurs and anyone using biology to solve large problems to apply.”
Applications are open to biotech entrepreneurs who are late in the research cycle and early in the product cycle; typically scientists who have a great concept but require the business acumen and support to get their concept off the ground.
Areas of interest include entrepreneurs solving problems in consumer biology, future food and agriculture, bio-materials, industrial biology, biological tools, animal health, therapeutics and regenerative medicines. Solutions that arise at the convergence of laboratory work and computational science are encouraged.
Entrepreneurs can apply until 10 March
The programme will kick-off with an Immersion Bootcamp on 13 May 2019.