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Are bioentrepreneurs the economic transformers of the future?
Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:37
In light of the increasing focus on knowledge-based economies, particularly in the South African context we investigate one factor that could contribute to this transformation. With the aid of Dr Nirvana Pillay, managing director of Xcell BioConsulting we look at the role of healthcare bio-entrepreneurs in the changing economy.
In 2008 the Department of Science and Technology launched their ten year innovation plan. The programme was developed to ‘help drive South Africa’s transformation towards a knowledge-based economy…”.
During a presentation held in January 2012 former President Thabo Mbeki tackled the issue of knowledge management, emphasising the point that knowledge is a critical driver to achieving social transformation for the “betterment of society”.
What is a knowledge-based economy? Wikipedia describes it as ‘the use of knowledge technologies to produce economic benefits as well as job creation’.
Knowledge and knowledge-based economies have become hot topics amongst thought-leaders. Yet very little is said about the innovators who will make knowledge-based economies a reality.
According to Dr Pillay bioentrepreneurs will be the central role-players in the economic transformation process. “Bio-technology is set to be the next big wave”, and can be applied in the environmental, industrial, agricultural and healthcare fields.
In order to understand the role of bioentrepreneurs, it is necessary to first understand their function. Bio-entrepreneurship refers to the “application of entrepreneurship in the biotechnology sciences”, says Pillay. Healthcare bioentrepreneurs in particular seek to uncover the “commercial value of medical inventions” in order to deliver newer, better and more affordable medical solutions to the health industry and the public at large.
It is the practice of providing solutions to benefit society that lies at the heart of both knowledge-based economies and the bioentrepreneurs who will inevitably establish them.
Bioentrepreneurship has massive potential to create employment through its process of commercialization says Dr Pillay, another element on which knowledge-based economies are founded.
In addition bioentrepreneurs are recognised as specialists in their field. It is these highly trained professionals, innovators and knowledge experts within various economies who will form the corner stone of the knowledge-based systems to which the globe is headed, according to Dr Pillay.
For this reason bioentrepreneurs will play a pivotal role in driving transformation in South Africa and the world.
Xcell BioConsulting in association with the UCT Graduate School of Busines provides practical training programmes to medical professionals who wish to supplement their skills and enter the challenging and rewarding world of bio-entrepreneurship. For more information visit Xcell BioConsulting
By Cindy Payle
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