A historic bio-manufacturing centre launched in Pretoria is set to enhance the growth of small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) in the region.
Named the Bio-Manufacturing Industry Development Centre (BIDC), the centre opened at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is envisaged to support SMMEs involved in bio-manufacturing in meeting their customer needs within short time-frames and be able to exploit market opportunities.
BIDC’s support for SMMEs is through the development of bio-based manufacturing processes and products.
Speaking at the recent launch of the centre, Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor, said the local manufacturing sector has been slow to adopt innovative manufacturing technologies leading to limited value addition to raw materials and a steady increase in the country’s trade deficit.
The Department of Science and Technology’s Industrial Innovation Partnership Programme and the Jobs Fund Programme funds BIDC.
Pandor noted the strategic focus was to provide an environment for the re-industrialisation of South Africa through the diversification of the economy.
“The BIDC therefore contributes to the development of new, innovative products and new industrial value chains which revitalise the local industry, stimulate export markets and increase local competitiveness,” explained Pandor.
CSIR Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, said CSIR performed research to stimulate and improve the competitiveness of industry.
“We need to think differently. We need to explore new ways and mechanisms to enter areas of activities such as the beneficiation of our natural resources to create jobs, manufacture high-end components and export them,” said Sibisi.
BIDC currently supports 19 enterprises of which 16 are owned by black entrepreneurs, including ten black women-owned enterprises.
To date, 33 products with applications in the cosmetics, nutrition and biotechnology industries have been developed and transferred to the enterprises.