Chief Operating Officer

Location: Cape Town, South Africa (with frequent (>30%) travel to Kigali, Rwanda)

UVU Bio stands at the epicentre of the bioeconomy transformation, driving innovation through our open access laboratories in Cape Town and soon to be established operations in Rwanda. As a leading bioeconomy business incubator, skills provider and Ecosystem enabler, we provide pivotal lab access, skills development, business support and contract R&D services. To consolidate our growth and spearhead our dual-country operations, we are seeking a visionary Chief Operating Officer.

As the COO you will play a crucial role in overseeing the strategic operations of our business and facilities. In collaboration with other senior management, you will help in formulating and implementing the strategic goals and objectives of the entire UVU Bio Business. This involves assessing the future needs of startups, evolving trends in skills development, and anticipating laboratory requirements.


  • Oversee daily operations in both South African and Rwandan branches, ensuring seamless integration and efficiency.
  • Collaborate with the CEO in setting and driving organizational vision, operational strategy, and hiring needs for both regions.
  • Support CEO and Senior Management team in fund raising initiatives.
  • Implement operational best practices across both facilities.
  • Develop and maintain high-quality business relationships and partnerships in South Africa and Rwanda.
  • Oversee resource allocation and budgeting, ensuring optimal use of grant funds in both countries.
  • Direct our contract R&D services, managing key client relationships across both regions.
  • Foster a success-oriented, accountable environment within the company.
  • Ensure that the labs are maintained, up-to-date, safe, and compliant with all necessary standards and regulations. This includes equipment procurement, maintenance, and calibration.
  • Management of staff and setting of KPIs and career growth paths
  • Identify potential risks in operations and ensures there are strategies in place to mitigate them. This is especially important in a setting with laboratories where safety and security are paramount.
  • Implementing and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the effectiveness of the incubator’s offerings, and making necessary adjustments based on feedback and data.
  • Leading, mentoring, and training the operational team. This includes ensuring that team members are aligned with UVU Bio’s vision, mission, and objectives.
  • Play a crucial role in planning and executing this expansion, whether it’s in terms of more physical space, additional programs, or even digital offerings.
  • Stay up to date with latest technological trends that can be integrated into the incubator’s operations, whether for the laboratory, skills training programs, or operational efficiency.


  • Master’s degree in a Bioscience or Engineering field, or equivalent. (candidates with lesser qualifications and extensive experience will be considered)
  • MBA from a recognized institution would be an added advantage.
  • Proven track record of operational success in a senior management role, preferably in a science-related industry.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communications, public speaking, and presentation skills.
  • Solid understanding of financial management.

Preferred qualities

  • Strategic thinker with a robust operational focus.
  • Strong work ethic
  • Ability to effectively manage and integrate operations across different countries.
  • Passionate about the bioeconomy and its transformative potential in Africa.
  • Knowledgeable about the regulatory and business environments in both South Africa and Rwanda.
  • Strong leadership skills with an inclusive and collaborative approach

Application process

To apply for the position of Laboratory Manager at UVU Bio’s Lab in Rwanda, please submit your details in the form below. The application deadline is 9 October 2023. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for further assessment.

UVU Bio is an equal-opportunity employer and encourages applicants from all backgrounds to apply. We value diversity and inclusion in our workforce.

Join UVU Bio in our mission to catalyse scientific innovations from ideation to commercialisation to benefit society and the environment by fostering collaboration, regionally and internationally, as well as to provide a cost-effective entry point for Entrepreneurs to access lab space, incubation and experienced business mentorship and support.