Women have their say at FemBioBiz season 3
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
Women in ICT continue to gravitate towards self-actualization in the field by way of a variety of platforms that continue to avail themselves to them. As has become customary on the events calendar for Botswana women in ICT and business, the Female in Bio-Sciences technology Businesses FemBioBiz commenced its 3rd season at the familiar grounds of the Botswana Innovation Hub. This year, joining the partnership is an organisation called Hivos which is an international NGO that has been working on gender inclusion and entrepreneurship support for over 50 years.
The winner of this year’s Botswana chapter of the event was none other than Kgomotso Sedimo with her perfume project. “My idea came out of frustration after I failed to get proper employment after graduating from school as an environmentalist. The perfume route was the only way to go so I pursued it,” said the enterprising lady. Perfumes came naturally to me because the start-up costs were low.
This year a contingent of about 17 aspiring business ladies took part at the Innovation Hub.
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 Innovation Hub serves as a strategic partner for the implementation of the FemBioBiz Season 3 Acceleration Programme Competition.
The FemBioBiz Programme aims to address the gender gap in leadership positions in the bioscience-based businesses by imparting leadership and entrepreneurship skills to females. It acts as a stimulus for women to improve their businesses and set up best practices for other women to emulate. The final Pitching Session and Awards ceremony is preceded by a workshops and coaching sessions for the 17 finalists to assist them to scale up their business ventures and to increase their value as leaders and role models in the community.
The FemBioBiz programme also creates a platform for women to network and access regional and international markets, obtain business development skills and access financing. Since inception, the Programme has received over 600 applications from 10 SADC member states and trained over 200 women with businesses that address the health and nutrition challenges of the SADC region.