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The AfricaBio recently held its 5th Annual Convention, and four Entrepreneurs from innobiz Durban University of Technology (DUT) Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation were exhibiting their products. Professor Keolebogile Motaung, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement (DVC: RIE) was a speaker at the event.

AfricaBio is an independent, non-profit biotechnology stakeholder’s association, whose key role is to provide information and create awareness on biotechnology in South Africa and the region.

The purpose of the convention was to host a programme that would be filled with informative and knowledgeable industry experts and thought leaders, who can share their opinions, suggestions and ideas on how to address the current issues in the industry. The programme consisted of various sessions of panel discussions such as Women in Leadership and Africa CDC, virtual and physical exhibitions and networking. Amongst speakers were Dr Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Mr Jean Pierre Horne of Amazon and Dr Janine Scholefield, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Research Group Leader, to name but a few.

AfricaBio is the key body for biotechnology stakeholders in South Africa, and as innobiz strives to be the best student incubation with different sectors in its programme to service its entrepreneurs, it was one of the best opportunities to ensure that entrepreneurs received some exposure and a chance to network not only with local and potential investors, but with international investors as well.

“As we collectively responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa must also deal with the wider set of crises, which are global in nature, but have a specific manifestation and impact in our continent; that of social inequality, of climate change, of technological disruption, and linked to all the above: a crisis of the global capitalist system,”- said Dr. Nzimande in his keynote speech.

Biotechnology is simply technology based on biology, with the infusion of cellular and biomolecular in developing technologies and products for the sustenance and improvement of lives and the planet, it is a crucial conversation that needs to be held and businesses that need to be promoted and sponsored.

“I am so grateful to innobiz for enlightening my partner and I on the availability of attending this session, as we have learned alot from many different people who are experts in this industry. We have been trying to break through into the market, but we have understood a few elements that we were missing and will now infuse into our business. It will greatly benefit our business model as we hope to expand beyond borders”- said Darlene Taylor, co-founder of Canny Products that make skin products infusing Cannabis.

DUT’s Prof  MotaungActing Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, said: “Being an entrepreneur comes with great rewards, but is not easy it requires hard work, there are undoubtedly challenges as well. The skills you learn and the pressure you face as an entrepreneur will better prepare you to succeed both in business and in life. I am glad that you have attended the BioAfrica 5th Annual Convention and you have learnt alot from the invited speakers. Go and apply what you have learned. I wish you all the best.”

Pictured: One of the innobiz entrepreneurs exhibiting her products at the BioAfrica Convention.

Aliziwe Mbambo

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