Maker of cassava shortbread to represent Seychelles at South Africa business competition
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychellois female entrepreneur Claudette Albert will represent the island nation at the FemBioBiz competition in South Africa next month after winning the local competition.
After a day of presentation of projects by eight women from Seychelles and Mauritius last week, Albert came out the winner with the cassava shortbread biscuit.
“My project started in 2015 after a COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) workshop for value addition of local products. I did a lot of research in the initial years and the final product was done at the STA’s (Seychelles Tourism Academy) internationally certified kitchen,” said Albert.
The Seychellois female entrepreneur presented her three-year personal project of maximising the use of cassava, a root vegetable grown in large quantity locally. Albert’s cassava shortbread biscuits made under her company Manna Farm has been certified by the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS).
The presentation of projects included products such as anti-cholesterol smoothies and organic creams made from local medicinal plants among others.
Albert believes that her award is also an achievement for Seychellois women and it brings hope for the future.
“As a woman entrepreneur and doing advocacy for women to go further, this is the kind of success that I want. In biotechnology, we cannot always be making cakes in our kitchen; we want to go to the industrial level where we can set up a factory, like other women in other countries,” she said.
|Albert’s cassava shortbread biscuits made under her company Manna Farm has been certified by the Seychelles Bureau of Standards. (Chloe Albert) Photo License: CC-BY|
Albert added that women in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian ocean, should seek more grants to develop their ideas as access to bank loans are limited.
Speaking at the presentation of projects, Zvikomborero Tangawamira, the programme coordinator of SANBio (Southern Africa Network for Biosciences), the founding organisation, said that FemBioBiz brings a lot of opportunities for women. It provides training development ideas and the possibilities of getting funding through business investors across the world.
“The opportunities are incredible and we are just here to facilitate that for you. Why? Because we feel that you are doing great things and you have the potential to really change the world,” added Tangawamira.
Albert will now proceed to the next phase of the competition in Cape Town, South Africa from September 12 to 14 and will be competing among nine other African countries. The event will be hosted by the South Africa Innovation Summit.
The FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme was created to develop leadership, technological and business skills in female-owned businesses within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The programme creates a platform for peer learning and will empower women to lead in health and nutrition through science and technology.
Seychelles is participating for the first time in the competition which was being coordinated locally by the Guy Morel Institute with the support of the National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (NISTI).
The women selected at the final will be able to present and bargain for sponsorships to develop their business as investors will be present. The winner also stands a chance to win $1 million as a cash prize.