The Opportunity

The 21st century has been dubbed “The Age of Biology”, and biotech is increasingly seen as a solution for global challenges in health, food, agriculture, and the environment; as well as a driver of economic development and diversification. Falling costs of performing life sciences research mean that biotech is no longer reserved for large corporations, universities and government organisations. In 2018, over US $12 billion was invested in biotech startups globally.


The Programme

The programme will run over 6 months, delivered via virtual workshops, expert coaching sessions, tailored online content and three in-person bootcamps in Cape Town. The incubation programme is free of charge, is equity free and valued at over R350,000 per business. During contact weeks, businesses will have access to lab facilities and co-working space, undertake excursions, be inspired at fireside chats, and be introduced to potential partners and funders. Co-working and lab-space will be available for startups in both Cape Town and Bulawayo. The programme will culminate in a demo day, where entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch to local investors.



13 to 17 May: Immersion Bootcamp – Startups will meet in Cape Town for an intense week of company building.
20 May to 28 June: Virtual Workshops – Each week one workshop will be streamed to startup participants.
1 to 5 July: Acceleration Bootcamp – Startups to reconvene in Cape Town to accelerate the development of their businesses.
8 July to 23 Aug: Virtual Workshops – Each week one workshop will be streamed to startup participants.
26 to 30 Aug: Funding Bootcamp – Startups to attend a funding and pitching bootcamp in Cape Town.
OneBio will cover the costs of travel and accommodation for startups coming from outside Cape Town.


Types of startups that should apply

Applications are open for biotech entrepreneurs that are late in the research cycle and early in the product cycle, typically scientists with a great concept but needing the business acumen and support to fully get the concept off the ground. Areas of interest include entrepreneurs solving problems in consumer biology, future food and agriculture, bio-materials, industrial biology, biological tools, animal health, therapeutics and regenerative medicines, to name a few areas. Solutions that arise at the convergence of laboratory work and computational science are encouraged. Startups need to be based in either South Africa or Zimbabwe. Teams of at least 2 co-founders are preferred.



The programme is being run in partnership with TechVillage – a Zimbabwean business and innovation incubator – and funded by the Finnish government through their Southern African Innovative Support (SAIS) initiative.



To apply click ONEBIO INCUBATOR PROGRAMME APPLICATION. Applications close at midnight on 10 March 2019 and shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview by 15 March 2019.