- 10 Innovation Support Organisations Unite in Cape Town for Inclusive BlueTech Transformation
Last month, from 21 to 25 August, 10 Innovation Support Organisations (ISOs) from 7 different Southern African countries gathered in Cape Town to take part in a five-day in-person boot camp. These ISOs came together to develop their support services to be more gender inclusive and ultimately become Blue Tech innovators.
The boot camp forms part of the GenBlue Program, which is an ongoing 7-month program hosted by OceanHub Africa (OHA), Viridian, and Make-It in Africa. This program is a ground breaking initiative aimed at enhancing the capacities of ISOs, with a steadfast focus on ocean sustainability, Blue economy innovation, and gender inclusivity. The program empowers ISOs to craft their own all-encompassing Blue Tech support initiatives.
The GenBlue boot camp, held at the Two Oceans Aquarium for the first two days, made the ISOs aware of the vital role they could play in the blue economy by delving into sessions about topics such as Opportunities in the Blue Economy and Understanding Blue Businesses and their needs.
While the ocean plays an important role in Africa’s economy, businesses that operate within this sector often lack entrepreneurial support tailored to their needs. Blue economy incubators and accelerator initiatives are recognised as vital tools for encouraging blue finance to support ocean solutions.
The gender-inclusive training part of the boot camp was guided by a guest speaker, South African engineer and co-founder of WomHub, Naadiya Moosajee. The ISOs were shown how gender inclusivity could be incorporated into their framework in practical ways by learning how to design for inclusivity, first.
Other sessions were also focused on securing partners and funding and constructing blue networks. This prepared the ISOs to utilise their networking skills at the networking event – the BlueTech Mixer, which comprised of relevant industry players. The networking event was a chance for ISOs and industry experts to form meaningful connections and discussions about funding opportunities for Blue Tech in a more informal setting.
As the GenBlue Bootcamp concluded, ISOs each took a pledge to unlock inclusive Blue Tech opportunities, echoing their commitment to sustainable innovation. ISOs were ready to return to their respective nations, equipped with new knowledge and enthusiasm to drive Blue Tech inclusivity.
What lies ahead for the next few months are mentoring sessions where each ISO will be paired with relevant industry experts as their mentor, peer-learning sessions and multiple online workshops.
The ripple effects of this immersive experience promise to redefine the ocean economy and highlight the transformative power of collaboration, gender inclusivity, and the drive for a sustainable future.