“Synmba Cereal Drink’’ shines at NEPAD SANBio Annual Event 2018
National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) and Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Synmba Sorghum Drink project team participated at a three days Business Development and Commercialisation training from the 16th -18th February 2018 sponsored by the NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) / BioFISA II programme.
Synmba Sorghum Drink project is a result of SANBio`s objective to provide a shared research, development and innovation platform for collaborative research in health and nutrition in the region with 13 Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states. The project secured BioFISA II Funding Value of R1 000 000.
The training covered different topics such as Business and Fundraising Model Canvas; that sums up project key partners, activities, resources, channels of distribution, customer segments, customer relationships, value proposition, cost structure, revenue streams and financial projections.
During the training, one of the participants Ms Mischa Fraser who is the Project Manager for Inqaba Biotec, South Africa advised Synmba Sorghum Drink project team that in future they should consider converting the drink into other forms such as energy bar, powder sachets and branding all the products differently for different target market segments (low, middle and high class) to maximise sales, cut costs and cater for everyone. The team was advised not to shy away from spending money on marketing the drink because it is the only way that can make a product to be well know. Subsequent to the training, the team exhibited at a two days NEPAD SANBio / BioFISA II Annual event 2018, at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
When welcoming the attendants to Dr Boitumelo Semete Makokotlela, CSIR Head of Biosciences said that a lot of bioscience technologies has been invented and now is high time they go into the market, therefore the attendants must look forward to identify opportunities, foster partnerships and find ways to commercialise their technologies and or products.
While delivering Keynote address Guest Speaker, Ambassador Kari Alanko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland called all member states to come forth and be more active than before in supporting commercialisation of bioscience technology innovations.
Finnish Ambassador, Kari Alanko delivering keynote address
NFTRC Acting Managing Director Dr Martin Kebakile participated in one of the panel discussions that ran concurrently with the Annual Event, the topic of the panel discussion was ‘Domestic Resource Mobilisation in SANBio member states.’
Dr Kebakile shared Botswana`s contribution at SANBio stating that so far Botswana government through Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has pledged R1 000 000 and SANBio pledged the same amount to support the research projects.
He added that governments alone cannot make it; therefore the private sector must also come on board and invest in this informed potential field.
When attempting to the heated question of why are member states reluctant to support SANBio despite its importance, Dr Kebakile said that Botswana recently adopted Research Science, Technology and Innovation (RSTI) policy, therefore the committee spear-heading it is still at infancy stage, assuring that once it’s up Botswana `s contribution on RSTI in general will be felt in the region.
NAPro, Operations Manager Mr Ramogoma Kaisara made a pitch on behalf of the team, he pitched to the potential investors to invest in an all in one benefits drink, which is refreshing and convenient, with probiotics, low calories, high protein and high energy. The drink also has an added advantage because it is gluten free and lactose free. Due to the team`s diligent pitch, a potential investor requested to meet the team immediately after the pitch.
The team also took advantage of the annual event attendants and performed consumer sensory testing. Other local companies that participated in the training and exhibition were Sleek Foods (Botswana KFC`s sole supplier of chakalaka) and Blue Pride Pty Ltd that focus on morula kernels extraction for natural seed oil.