The CSIR hosted the inaugural Biomanufacturing Industry Development Centre (BIDC) accelerator networking event on Friday, 27 January 2016 at its Pretoria campus.
“The BIDC accelerator networking event was the first in a series of events aimed at providing access for SMME’s to CSIR’s entrepreneurs-in-residence and their wealth of business experience, as well as the opportunity for Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) to expand their networks and engage with other small businesses in the biomanufacturing industry,” said Lara Kotze-Jacobs, BIDC project manager.
Neil Hinrichsen, founder of Koi Strategy, was invited as the guest speaker. He also serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the CSIR, helping to commercialise the CSIR’s technologies and develop entrepreneurship at the CSIR. Koi strategy trains and supports entrepreneurs all across Africa.
“This is about how to build a winning start-up company,” says Hinrichsen. “I train people with skills and ideas that they need to create a successful start-up. The key thing is how the start-up can survive in the market.”
Moreover, Hinrichsen advised entrepreneurs in attendance that when building a product they should not focus inwards, by trying to perfect the product, but rather focus on the market and how the product will fit in.
Peter Lubega from Ubitron, a BIDC-supported enterprise, noted that the workshop enabled the entrepreneurs to learn the critical steps on building a successful start-up.
“The fundamental steps for commercialising a product are of importance, the Koi Strategy outlines these well. Everything from funding, networking, distribution, public relations and marketing and sales,” he said.
“Being someone who’s in the industrial development division of the Department of Trade and Industry, we try to find ways that can counter the challenges that are faced by SMMEs. One of those is what was taught today regarding getting products into the market and putting structures in place to ensure that the business is a success,” said Gerald Mabeba from the Department of Trade and Industry. “My take from the workshop today is that being a business person, you have to understand where you are going and what steps you have to take to get there”.
The BIDC accelerator networking event will be hosted once every two months at the CSIR Pretoria campus with the next event planned for March 2017.