This program has ended

Hivos and SANBio have joined forces to achieve a Southern Africa support network for female entrepreneurs. This involves supporting local incubators and providing young entrepreneurial women with opportunities and tools to start and/or scale their own businesses.

Why women scientists and techies are important

The lack of female scientists and techies means major untapped potential for national economies and future employment needs in Africa. Without access to, understanding of and participation in science and technology, women are at greater risk of being left behind in a rapidly changing global society. And society is at great risk of missing out on potential agents of change and leaders.

How FemBioBiz brings more women to the table

FemBioBiz supports and connects women entrepreneurs. It gets women who already run a company, as well as students, involved in agri-food, health, (bio)waste, natural beauty products and nutrition. The program uses local business development service providers and coworking spaces to foster innovative partnerships between youth organizations, businesses, investors, civil society and women’s organizations. This creates a support network that boosts FemBioBiz’s impact on female entrepreneurship.

Each year, FemBioBiz holds two main competitions in its countries of operation. Participants attend bootcamps and receive training in pitching. The winners of regional pitching finales receive a prize and the exposure they need to grow African businesses benefiting the bio-science sector.



Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe


In Season 1 (2017), FemBioBiz incubated 101 women-led businesses. And in Season 2 (2018), that rose to 150. In the past years, over 650 businesses have applied for the national training programs. In 2019, another 150 exceptional companies joined the program.


Country coordinators include: Botswana Innovation Hub (Botswana), mHub (Malawi), DEV Mozambique (Mozambique), NCRST (Namibia), TGMI (Seychelles & Mauritius), AWIEF (South Africa), WeCreate (Zambia), NBA (Zimbabwe), SANBio (program coordination).

Period and budget

2017 – 2019, March – October (annually), € 500,000 per year