OneBio launches its first Incubator for SA & Zim Biotech Startups


OneBio, a specialised biotech incubator in Cape Town, has announced plans to launch its first incubation programme for early-stage Southern African and Zimbabwean biotech entrepreneurs in May 2019.

According to the firm, applications are now open for biotech startups seeking support to drive change in Africa.

The programme is run in partnership with TechVillage, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur support organisation; and funded by the Finnish government through their Southern African Innovative Support (SAIS) initiative and the South African government’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).

OneBio is a JV between entrepreneurs, Michael Fichardt and Dr. Nick Walker, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) and the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). OneBio aims accelerate growth of biotech startups around the world and the opportunities in the African biotech startup ecosystem.  

“In the past year, OneBio has been working with biotech entrepreneurs and has been blown away by the talent and potential of the region’s startups,” states Michael Fichardt, CEO and Co-Founder of OneBio. “The programme is purposed to source, amplify and accelerate local life science talent and support a new wave of biotech success stories for Southern Africa. We encourage scientists, bio-hackers, entrepreneurs and anyone using biology to solve large problems to apply.”   

The incubation programme will run over six months, delivering three bootcamps, virtual workshops, expert coaching sessions and tailored online content. The bootcamps will take place in Cape Town, with accommodation and flights sponsored for SA startups needing to travel. Co-working space and lab facilities will be provided to startups in Cape Town and Bulawayo.

The programme is free for successful participating startups and valued at over R350k per business. It will culminate in a Demo Day where entrepreneurs will pitch their companies to a room full of local investors.

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Applications are open to biotech entrepreneurs who are late in the research cycle and early in the product cycle in areas such as consumer biology, future food and agriculture, bio-materials, industrial biology, biological tools, animal health, therapeutics and regenerative medicines. Solutions that arise at the convergence of laboratory work and computational science are encouraged.

Entrepreneurs can apply until 10 March here. The programme will kick-off with an Immersion Bootcamp on 13 May 2019.  

For more information about the Africa biotech incubator, OneBio, visit