Blog Article — July 18, 2023 — Linda McLeod

GenBlue: Empowering Innovation Support Organizations for Blue Innovation and Inclusivity in Southern Africa

GenBlue is a collaborative initiative led by Make-IT in Africa and implemented by OceanHub Africa and Viridian. The program is dedicated to empowering Innovation Support Organizations (ISOs) as key enablers for ocean impact solutions while promoting inclusivity and addressing gender imbalances and biases.

Unlocking the Potential of the Blue Economy

The Blue Economy encompasses a range of ocean-based industries and holds significant economic potential for Southern Africa. Did you know that these industries have a global annual economic value of at least $2.5 trillion, making the ocean the world's seventh-largest economy? In many countries within the region, these industries already make substantial contributions to their GDP and exports. However, despite its vast potential, the Blue Economy in Southern Africa remains largely untapped, presenting significant opportunities for growth and innovation.

The role of Innovation Support Organizations

ISOs, including incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and maker spaces, play a crucial role in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. However, when it comes to BlueTech, there is a noticeable gap in the support landscape. Currently, there is a shortage of ISOs specifically focused on supporting entrepreneurs in this sector of opportunities in Southern Africa. This presents a unique challenge and an exciting opportunity to bridge this gap and empower ISOs to become key enablers for ocean impact solutions.

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GenBlue: Supporting the Growth of Blue Ventures

With GenBlue, our mission is to strengthen ISOs and position them as the go-to place for Blue Entrepreneurs in their geographic area. Through our 7-month program, we provide ISOs with the tools, knowledge, and networks to shape their own BlueTech support programs and foster sustainable growth and investment readiness in Africa's BlueTech ecosystem.

First cohort to be announced soon

The selection process of the participants is in full swing. After intensive evaluations and inspiring interviews with passionate ISOs from the regions, the first cohort of GenBlue will be announced soon. They will then enter a comprehensive program designed to empower and connect ISOs for successful engagement in BlueTech. By participating in GenBlue, they will benefit from:

  1. Capacity Development: Develop the necessary capacity and building networks to effectively support Blue Ventures in their growth journey.
  2. Regional Collaboration: Join a collaborative regional community focused on Ocean Sustainability topics, enabling knowledge sharing and collective impact.
  3. Global Opportunities: Access global opportunities and engage with world-class experts, fostering international partnerships and expanding horizons.
  4. Game Plan Development: Creating a comprehensive Game Plan to run programs and sustain your ISOs, ensuring long-term success.


About the authors:

Ocean Hub Africa is an ocean-impact catalyst with the mission to connect, inspire and support entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, businesses and other stakeholders to accelerate the development and adoption of new sustainable ocean solutions across Africa.

Viridian is an impact agency that designs and delivers programmes for early-stage entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneur support organisations across Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their programmes act as a catalyst for these key economic actors, ultimately growing shared prosperity across Sub-Saharan Africa.

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