UVU Bio is a platform for biotech entrepreneurs to turn ideas into creative solutions
UVU Africa (previously known as Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative) sees enormous potential in biotechnology as a technology that is able to do good and make a positive impact on people’s lives. There has been positive nascent activity in biotech around the African continent, but not many of the ideas or products are coming to fruition in a commercial sense and from a perspective of being able to take it to market or to scale.
UVU Bio, established by UVU Africa in 2019, is a specialised biotech incubator that provides African entrepreneurs a platform where science, business and investment can come together.
At UVU Bio, we will help to produce industries of the future in South Africa and Africa, by creating a bridge between research and commercialisation of ideas based on the application of technology to broad biological sciences.
Develop “Tech for Good” in a meaningful & sustainable manner that will positively impact the lives of people living in Africa.
Produce industries of the future by creating a bridge between research and commercialisation through access to shared lab space, business support, mentorship and community.
Catalyse the ecosystem by unlocking the potential of the biotech industry through collaboration and community-building for researchers, academia, innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, ideators & established biotech CEOs.
Become the premier partner in Africa for biotechnology incubation and acceleration.
Our vision at UVU Bio is to create a thriving biotechnology industry in Africa, and to produce world-class companies in the industry which leverage Africa’s unique potential.
Our mission is to catalyse scientific innovations from ideation to commercialisation for the benefit of society and the environment by fostering collaboration, both locally and internationally. To provide a cost-effective entry point for Entrepreneurs to access lab space, incubation and experienced business mentorship and support.
Commitment to science for the better
Collaboration not competition
Diverse team and opinions make for better solutions
Have the courage to execute on bold ideas
Execution is as important as ideation
On the lookout for untapped potential
Special areas of focus
Incubation / Acceleration Programme
Our focus is on biotech startups that are late in the research cycle and early in the product cycle.
Our support will span the first 12-36 months, taking startups from pre-seed to angel investment ready.
Through workshops, mentorship, training, peer to peer support, access to industry experts, funders, networks, community and connections, UVU Bio will support you to build your business.
Shared Laboratory & Co-working space
Our lab and co-working space bring together biotech entrepreneurs, providing a space for them to develop ideas with peer support before being taken to market.
We offer world-class lab facilities, as well as access to a range of business specialists from marketing to operations, to finance, and connect them to investors, pharma and big business, and other major role-players in the ecosystem.
To book a visit to the lab or if you are interested to take up space in the lab, send us your details:
UVU Bio Board
Joshin Raghubar is an African entrepreneur in the media, marketing, and technology sectors. He is engaged in the evolving role of entrepreneurship, trust and innovation in the ‘good society’. He is the founder and Executive Chairperson of iKineo Ventures.
Joshin serves as the chairperson of the Bandwidth Barn, Africa’s largest non-profit incubator and accelerator for technology businesses; and chairperson of the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), the public/private sector agency tasked with development of the region as a technology and innovation cluster.
Joshin also serves as a non-executive director of both the Africa Leadership Initiative (Southern Africa) and the African Leadership Network. He is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Network, a fellow of the United States-Southern African Centre for Leadership and Public Values, and a member of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s global Transformation Thinkers program. He is also in the 2016 class of Yale World Fellows. Joshin has a business science (honours) degree from the University of Cape Town, and a masters in development studies from the University of the Western Cape’s Institute for Social Development.
Ian Merrington is CEO of The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative and The Bandwidth Barn and is also a Director of Injini, Africa’s first EdTech Incubator. The Bandwidth Barn is Africa’s oldest technology incubator and is to-day regarded as one of the leading Technology business incubators in the world.
Ian is currently a member of the Economic War Room for Tech & BPO established by the WCGov, he also sat on the advisory boards of the University of Cape Town’s Information Systems department and also the Computer Sciences department. He was appointed an ambassador for AfricaCom 2018 (Africa’s largest Tech event) in recognition of his leadership role in driving Africa’s digital transformation.
Ian is passionate about the role of innovation in solving the challenges faced by modern societies. He believes that inclusive innovation can improve lives across the continent.
In his current role as CEO of CiTi, he has a focus on supporting and incubating inclusive tech enabled innovation, seeding technology clusters, creating job ready candidates for the Industry 4.0 and also accelerating tech entrepreneurs.
Ashley Minnaar is the CFO for The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) and also sits on the board of Bandwidth Barn (Pty) Ltd and BioCiTi NPC. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has 20 years commercial experience.
After completing his articles he joined Platinum Group as their Accountant for 2 years.Thereafter he spent 8 years with Storm Telecom (Pty) Ltd and acted as Financial Director for 6 of these.Storm Telecom were the pioneers in VOIP technology in South Africa.He played a key role in selling the business to Vox Telecom for R350 million in 2008.He then joined the Slick Restaurant Group as CFO for 2 years.The Slick Restaurant Group ran a successful chain of restaurants and owned the well-known franchise, St Elmos.
In 2011 he started his own consultancy business which has been in operation for 8 years.In 2014 he joined CiTi on a consultancy basis and officially became CFO for CiTi in 2018.
Petro Terblanche is responsible for the Strategic and Operational Management of technology intensive entities. Petro is currently the Managing Director of Afrigen Biologics (Pty)Ltd. She was also a Professor in Business Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the North-West University as well as spent time as Managing Director at Pelchem SOC Ltd. A considerable part of her career was in research at Necsa and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) as well as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She has several qualifications which include: a Master of Science in MS, Oncology and Cancer Biology (Cum Laude) from the University of Pretoria, A Research Doctorate in Oncology and Cancer Biology also from the University of Pretoria, she then went on to Harvard University to complete a Post Doctorate in Internal Public Health/ International Health, thereafter, completing her Management of Technology qualification in Engineering/ Industrial management.
Brendan Hughes is a legal professional and technology entrepreneur with an LLB from the University of Cape Town.
He has more than 15 years of experience in working with technology start-ups. Brendan currently serves as Chairperson of Injini EdTech Ventures, Africa’s leading EdTech incubator investing into EdTech start-ups across the African continent, and as a director of the BioCiTi biotechnology lab and incubator.
He is a co-founder of the LexVision Group, an international group of companies licensing and supporting legal industry technology solutions, including ShareBrief.com, MedBrief.co.uk and LexFutures.com.
Brendan also serves on the board of the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative and on the Advisory Board of the University of Cape Town Faculty of Law.
Dr Raven Naidoo has a PhD in Physics from the University of Cape Town and a Masters degree in the Management of Technology and Innovation from the University of Sussex, UK. He is the CEO of Radian Corporation.
Raven has near unparalleled experience of business and economic development, especially in the technology sector. Since 1994 he has initiated and managed a number of government sponsored and other business development initiatives, including director and architect of the Governments premier small business development projects on Technology and Innovation Management, and Technology and Corporate Strategy; consultant to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Coordinator of the World Bank study on Technical and Marketing Support to South African SMEs; consultant to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Coordinator of the British ODA investigation into Business Support Services; member of the Dept of Communications e-Commerce reference team; Senior Consultant to the Cape Town Unicity on the development of an IT Strategy for the Cape Town Unicity and the Development of a Smart City; Senior Consultant to Wesgro on the State of the ICT Industry in the Western Cape; and consultant to Siemens SA on Mobile Business and the Internet.
He was the founding managing Director of Capricorn Park, and was also the managing director of the WorldOnline division of Vodacom. Most recently he has been active in the formation of a Primgro, a black empowerment holding company as well as undertaking business development projects. He has board level positions at The Cape Innovation Technology Initiative (CiTi) and the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
UVU Bio Team
Dheepak Maharajh, Cluster Head at BioCiTi, joined the team in June 2021. Dheepak is an accomplished science and engineering specialist with over 25 years’ experience in developing biotechnology concepts at lab scale and transferring these to pilot and commercial scales. He is a registered Professional Natural Scientist (Pr.Sci.Nat) and holds Masters degrees in Bioprocess Engineering and Business administration from Stellenbosch University and Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) respectively. Dheepak has delivered on multiple projects funded by both private and public sectors and led numerous projects to completion during his career. Dheepak thrives at the interface of science and business and is passionate about helping start-ups transitions their business concepts into commercial realities and enjoys mentoring young science and engineering professionals to help them realise their full potential. Dheepak’s vision is to count BioCiTi amongst the likes of international biotechnology incubators that are the most sought-after business incubators that start-ups want to partner with to get their scientific concepts to the market.
Dr Anesu Conrad Moyo
Siyamthanda Wotini, is a recent Diploma in Biotechnology graduate from CPUT and is BioCiTi’s Quality Control Intern. She is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the quality procedures in the lab and related equipment. She is passionate about Microbiology and Biotechnology and has ambitions to complete a PhD in Microbiology.
Join our Ecosystem
Bringing together multiple ecosystem players to build successful biotech businesses, form win-win local and international partnerships, advocate for the industry, and promote a thriving biotechnology sector.
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