BlueInvest Africa Forum in Seychelles gives African start-ups chance to pitch Blue Economy ideas
A Seychellois company Seaweed Seychelles is exhibiting at the BlueInvest Forum. It turns seaweed into agricultural fertiliser. (Romano Laurence)
(Seychelles News Agency) - A total of 22 African start-up companies have been provided with the platform to present their innovation and revolutionising ideas, contributing to finding solutions within the blue economy sector.
This is being made possible through the BlueInvest Africa Forum, a European Union initiative to promote the Blue Economy, being held in Seychelles between September 7-8.
Seychelles is the host of this year's edition of the forum, a business-to-business (B2B) event boosting the African Union-European Union partnership in the area of the Blue Economy. This makes the island nation the first country outside of Europe to host the event.
The aim of the start-ups, that will be pitching their ideas to an audience of over 500 people, is to influence and provide solutions for leading problems currently affecting the African continent.
Throughout the two-day event, the pitchers will be able to provide information about their business in five different pitching sessions. The sessions cover renewable energy and water solutions, solutions for circular economy on plastics and waste, fisheries and aquaculture, solar power solution, and technology-enabled solutions.
Green Keeper Africa, one of the participants in the sessions, seeks to talk to as many people as possible and try to foster a partnership. The business, founded in 2018, processes and turns invasive water hyacinth into industrial absorbents.
"The objective is to make ourselves known, find partnerships and investors that will allow us to develop in other African countries. We are based in Benin, where our main markets are also located and the objective is to branch out to Togo, Ivory Coast, Senegal and then spread to other parts of Africa," said Esteve Agbota, a representative of the company.
Water hyacinth is a problem in many parts of Africa as the invasive plant can cover lakes and wetlands, reducing the amount of light that reaches underwater plants and oxygen levels for fish. It also creates a conducive environment for mosquitoes to breed. The aquatic plant is seen as a serious threat to biodiversity.
BlueInvest Africa also targets the Africa small micro and medium sized enterprises (SMMEs) not yet officially established in an African country but hearing an innovative idea subject to further commercial development within the African market.
Four Seychelles-based businesses - Seaweeds Seychelles, Ocean Clean-up, Eco-fabrics, and Brikole - are taking part in an exhibition happening alongside the main event, which is taking place at Eden Bleu, located on Eden Island.
The Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, shared with the press that although local businesses are not pitching their ideas during the main event, "an arrangement for them to exhibit their project is much more valuable than the three minutes being given to participants to pitch their products."
"Their exhibition will be up for two days, and they will have the ability to meet with investors and provide information about their project. Seychelles is now ready for the next BlueInvest Africa Forum and I am sure that some of our projects will qualify for pitching," said Ferrari.
Aside from the pitching sessions and exhibitions, the event also creates a platform for business-to-business meetings, and networking moments between participants which will enable them to meet a maximum of potential business partners.