Seychellois women to showcase innovations in FemBioBiz competition
The programme creates a platform for peer learning and will empower women to lead in health and nutrition through science and technology. (Ministry of Health)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychellois women will for the first time this year be joining others from the Southern African region to compete in the FemBioBiz competition.
The FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme was created to develop leadership, technological and business skills in female-owned businesses within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
FemBioBiz was launched by the NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) with support from BioFISA II, a Finnish-Southern African Partnership Programme.
The programme creates a platform for peer learning and will empower women to lead in health and nutrition through science and technology.
The Guy Morel Institute with the support of National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation - NISTI is coordinating the competition in Seychelles.
Marie Celine Zialor, head of the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Institute, told SNA on Wednesday that this competition will be “a chance for female entrepreneurs to be mentored and get international exposure. This will also entice young girls to consider a career in bio-entrepreneurship.”
Zialor said the competition will help to create awareness of bio-entrepreneurship in Seychelles. “So far NISTI has been alone in trying to enhance the national agenda of Science Technology and Innovation into business in Seychelles,” said Zialor.
The competition was launched locally last month and around 10 participants have registered. Zialor said that the criteria for judging the event include the categories of innovation, growth potential, social innovation and student entrepreneurs.
|Participants in the training and mentorship programme held at Guy Morel Institute. (Joena Meme) Photo License: CC-BY|
A training and mentoring programme has been held at the Guy Morel Institute based at Majoie on the outskirts of Victoria – the capital city.
It was run by local trainers and the chief technical adviser of the SANBIO project Marja Reetta Paaso who is in Seychelles – a group of islands in the western Indian Ocean – to contextualize the international programme.
Paaso, who is based in South Africa, said that it was exciting to get the island nation in the second season of the competition. “We want Seychelles’ women entrepreneurs as well as students in the area of health and nutrition to get excited by the prospects and potentials of this competition,” said Paaso.
“Each country has its own uniqueness. This will also come out through the projects which of course have direct links to the specificity of each country. I am quite sure the participants will make good progress and will benefit from the workshop, training as well as mentorship programmes which we have for them,” adds Paaso.
Three participants from Mauritius who are also taking part in the project had to attend the training in Seychelles. Nadine Bourbeau told SNA she is promoting new healthier options which people can use with their meals.
“The new products are a range of sauces, made with fresh and natural products which bring vitamins, minerals, fibres in meals. The products I think should replace unhealthy fat laden products such as ketchup and mayonnaise,” said Bourbeau.
Seychellois Nicolette Bamboche said that she is hoping her project “from the sea to the sand” makes it to the final. “We are showcasing how seaweed and fish waste can be turned into liquid fertiliser and used for agriculture,” explained Bamboche.
Zialor said that Seychelles participation will have positive outcomes such as “providing various solutions to the island nation’s problems in the areas of health, nutrition, agriculture. It will also provide support for upcoming new industries like aquaculture as well as boosting innovations in business.”
The South Africa Innovation Summit will be hosting the regional event for the finalists of the FEMBioBiz competition in Cape Town, South Africa, from September 12 to 14.