In August 2023, the African Biennial Biosciences Communication Symposium (ABBC2023), hosted by ISAAA AfriCenter, witnessed a historic moment—the inaugural Biotechnology Entrepreneurial Pitching Session. It was a gathering of visionaries, entrepreneurs, and innovators who came together to celebrate the incredible spirit of innovation within the African biotechnology landscape.
Out of the 33 remarkable submissions, seven entries were selected for the pitch, a testament to the quality and innovation brewing in the African biotechnology sector. These forward-thinkers, fueled by groundbreaking ideas and revolutionary innovations, aimed to tackle local challenges using advanced biotechnology. From the conceptualization of their ideas to the tangible prototypes, their journey showcased the extraordinary potential of creativity and collaboration.
A distinguished panel of judges, including experts, investors, and industry leaders from academia and private sector giants like Kenya Breweries Limited and Elgon Kenya Limited, eagerly awaited these presentations. Each pitch had a mere five minutes to shine, followed by an additional two minutes for judges to delve deeper into the concepts.
One pitch, in particular, captured the hearts and minds of all in attendance. Presented by Peter Nduta and his team, the ‘Shamba Assistant’ introduced a revolutionary solution to sustainable protein production and waste management. By integrating precise nutrient monitoring into Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farming, this innovation not only addressed the challenge of alternative protein sources and waste management but also offered a sustainable and commercially viable solution for nutrient-rich frass in agriculture.
The winning pitch has the unique opportunity of further development through AfriBIOHubs, a program aimed at nurturing and incubating groundbreaking biotech innovations led by Kenyatta University under the auspices of the Feed the Future Striga Smart Sorghum for Africa Project. Peter and his team will receive mentorship and guidance from seasoned investors and industry experts to advance their brilliant idea into a flourishing venture, setting an example for other young bio-entrepreneurs to emulate.
The ABBC2023 pitching session was a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration. It showcased the remarkable potential of biotechnology to solve local challenges and create positive change on a global scale. The ‘Shamba Assistant’ pitch by Peter Nduta and his team served as a shining example of how innovative ideas, dedication, and collaboration can lead to transformative solutions. As we move forward, let us continue to support and nurture these groundbreaking ideas, for they hold the key to a more sustainable and prosperous future for Africa and the world.