On the 27th and 28th of February 2018, the NEPAD SANBio Network supported by the BioFISA II Programme hosted its second Annual Event at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. As a SANBIO BioFISA II funded project, the Resurrection bush herbal tea project was invited to exhibit.
The theme for this year’s event was “Finding solutions through technology innovations”. The focus was on finding ways to bridge the gap between research outputs from Higher Education Institutes and Research Institutes being adopted in the market via commercial entities and initiatives.
The audience for the event included individuals from corporates and start-ups; University and Research partners; SADC country funding councils; investors in new technologies; donors in the region that can directly support start-ups; BioFISA II Project teams; NGOs; innovators; SMMEs and venture capitalists in the health and nutrition sectors. Overall between 250–300 people from the region attended over the course of the 2-day event.
Not all the attendees visited our tea stand, but we had very good attendance, with many guests, exhibitors and even potential funders trying our Resurrection bush herbal tea and some of the blends prepared especially for the expo. The tea got an overall fantastic review with most enjoying the taste and some asking when it would be available in the shops for them to buy! We used the opportunity to get written user feedback and to gather data on the pure herb and blends being showcased.
Over the course of the event there were panel sessions; presentations by start-ups that have got it right – and wrong! Information and success stories were shared by some of the funding councils of the SANBIO network countries; and there were lots of opportunities for networking.
The event culminated in a pitching session where we were given the option to pitch our projects to a panel representing potential investors such as Hivos, SAB Foundation and The HWeb and attempt to obtain follow on / expansion capital.
The exhibition and event was a great forum to test our product cost effectively in a safe environment; to gain exposure and get some valuable feedback on our Resurrection bush herbal tea and blends as well as to catch up and have some fun with fellow funded project members.