9 SA, Zim biotech entrepreneurs picked for Cape Town incubator

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Nine South African and Zimbabwean early-stage biotech entrepreneurs have been selected to take part in a six-month incubation programme in Cape Town, which will give them access to training, mentorship and investors.

Disrupt Africa reported earlier this year on the launch of the incubator, which is being run in partnership by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), OneBio and The TechVillage.

The programme, which is also supported by the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR), the Finnish government through their Southern African Innovative Support (SAIS) initiative, and the South African government’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), will run for six months and deliver various bootcamps, virtual workshops, expert coaching sessions and tailored online content.

It will culminate in a showcase day where entrepreneurs will pitch their companies to a room full of key local stakeholders. In all, 51 applications were received for the programme, with nine entrepreneurs selected to take part.

They include applied genomics company CapeBio Technologies], insect-based dairy alternative Gourmet Grubb, probiotics alternative MyBiome, health data solution PharmaHealth Technologies, and synthetic indigo dye producer TRYAD.

The rest of the list is made up of biofertiliser producer WNNR Biotech, healthcare data solution My BluePrint, cleaning product developer D Chem Group, and research company AlphaKymeric.

A new, high-tech lab will be based at CiTi’s Woodstock premises, the Bandwidth Barn, for the duration of the programme. The controlled lab facility will allow the startups to develop and trial test their ideas.

“CiTi sees a lot of opportunities in biotech to catalyse the sector. There is a lot of nascent activity in the country and Africa, but not much of it comes to fruition in a commercial sense or from the perspective of being able to take it to market and scale. The launch of the BioCiTi incubator continues CiTi’s increased focus on specialised incubation,” said Ian Merrington, chief executive officer (CEO) of CiTi.

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