Innovative TUT expert’s pitch wins big at FemBioBiz

The Tshwane University of Technology’s Prof Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Science as well asTissue Engineering and regenerative medicine expert, just won R250 000 and an all-expenses paid trip Finland to brainstorm with the best of the best to upscale her business plan and ideas. Following her successful pitch at the South African Innovation Summit, she was announced the winner of the recent FemBioBiz Pitching Den in Cape Town and will visit Finland in November and December.

​The Nepad Southern Africa Network for Biosciences SANBio, with support from the BioFISA II programme, have launched a FemBioBiz Accelerated  Programme, which is a platform for shared biosciences research, development and innovation to address health issues in Southern African and is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Over a period of six weeks, calls were made for women leaders across Africa to pitch their business ideas. The first phase of the programme was carried out between May and June in six successful workshops that were held in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa. Participants were introduced to the Business Model Canvas and were taught the finer elements of pitching. The following countries responded to the call:  Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia and Swaziland.

In South Africa, 180 applications were received with 21 shortlisted and Prof Motaung being one of the candidates. She competed with other finalists from other countries and was selected one of the 15 overall finalists. The finalists completed an intensive entrepreneurial boot camp in Pretoria late in July. They were then invited to pitch their business plans and meet investors and business experts during Phase 3 of the competition - the South African Innovation Summit.

Prof Motaung's pitch, under the auspices of Global Health Biotech hugely impressed the panel of judges and FemBioBiz trainers and secured her the number one spot. The trip to Helsinki to attend Europe's leading start-up event 'Slush 2017', will take place from 27 November to 5 December 2017.

 “I am excited about the win and hope that this will give me an opportunity to upscale and benchmark my business plan at an international level in Finland. The entrepreneurial boot camp that we attended in Pretoria has boosted my understanding of different types of pitches; canvas model, how to write a business plan; and how to become an entrepreneur," says Prof Motaung.

Earlier this month Prof Motaung also won the Gauteng Legislature's Community Heroine award of the VITA BASADI Awards. Her selfless dedication to the advancement of biosciences and her commitment to finding lasting solutions to physiological disorders in the world is awe-inspiring.

Prof Motaung will now concentrate on training postgraduate students on how to become entrepreneurs from a scientific research background and to develop products for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine from medicinal plants. “Currently, there are no such products on the market for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine," she concludes.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to