Aquaculture for all

38 embark on African Blue Venture Builder


Thirty-eight emerging talents within Africa’s blue economy have taken part in the first phase of the Blue Venture Builder Program – an initiative facilitated by Hatch Blue and OceanHub Africa, with support from GIZ.

A group photo
Participants in the first phase of the Blue Venture Builder gather in Cape Town

© Image credit

Phase 1 commenced with an intensive 10-day bootcamp in Cape Town, held from 2 to 11 May. This facilitated matchmaking among participants to form cohesive teams and provided essential mentorship on building sustainable and scalable businesses in the blue economy.

The applicants were categorised into three stages: idea stage, prototype stage, and early startup phase, with some already selling products. From the 38 individuals, 13 teams emerged, forming either as co-founders or implementing partners. This diverse group includes 20 women and 18 men from Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.

Bootcamp highlights

The bootcamp aimed to bring together top-tier talent, devotion to impact, and creative thinking to drive innovative solutions in every sustainable blue initiative.

For mentorship, team building, and learning exercises, the Blue Venture Builders met with industry experts, including Dina Bailey, Karlotta Rieve, Adam Taylor, Thor Sigfusson, Carsten Krome, Peter Green, Claude Kaplan, Gracie White from Conservation International, Laura Pereira, Nicholas Hill from Coast 4C, Wayne Murphy, Tanja Hoel, Sarah Carroll, Christian Rangen, Thando Mazomba, and Herland Cerveaux from OHA.

Participants also visited Abagold, a farm that produces abalone in close harmony with nature in South Africa. The pristine cool water of the Atlantic Ocean provides the necessary nutrients for the cultivation of the highest quality abalone, which is exported globally.

As one of the participants, Nandrianina Maminantenaina, reflected: "My 10-day bootcamp experience in Cape Town for the Blue Venture Builder Program was transformative. It was a blend of intensive workshops, mentorship sessions, and hands-on projects focused on sustainable aquaculture and blue economy ventures. The collaborative environment and diverse cohort enriched my learning and inspired innovative solutions."

The shortlisted candidates are working on diverse projects across key blue tech areas. These include:

  • Blue carbon
  • Novel seaweed processing
  • Health and genetics
  • Feed / nutrition
  • Hardware and software solutions
  • Seafood processing
  • Cold chain solutions
  • Ocean conservation
  • Marine renewables


Programme participants were selected from applicants in south and east Africa and, by country, consisted of:

  • Kenya: Lilian Akoth Ogwari, Lorna Afwandi, Angela J Odero, Reggie Joseph Okoko, Don Okoth, Elizabeth Okullow, Vincent Otieno, Amaan Pirani, Brenda Wambui, Basil Osambo
  • Madagascar: Ny Aro Andriamiarosoa, Lucile Gingembre, Randrianarivelo Julia, Nandrianina Maminantenaina
  • Mozambique: Jorge Banze, Erzidio Domingos Uchavo, Mercy Kanonuhwa, Messias Alfredo Macuiane
  • Namibia: Kleopas Johannes, Elizabeth Kambode, Shepherd M Nyambe, Sakaria Hiulwa Nalusha, Fanuel Shinedima, Gerson Nasau
  • South Africa: Eugin Bornman, Luvo Gugwana, Sarah Halse, Anga Mbeyiya, Junaid Petker, Nadia Scheffer, Enock Shezi, Thobeka Sithole
  • Tanzania: Adventina Grevas, Stephano Karoza, Shuwena Salim, Klaartje (Klara) Schade, Maliha Sumar

Next steps

Running from 13 May to July 30, the second phase focuses on remote collaboration, allowing teams to develop their ideas further with ongoing support and virtual mentoring. it will be followed by an implementation and scaling stage, scheduled from August to September 2024, which aims to prepare the teams for market entry and growth.

Thando Mazomba, venture development lead at OceanHub Africa, commented: “The OceanHub Africa team in partnership with Hatch Blue, is thrilled with what lies ahead for the BVB Africa fellows as they progress through the programme. We are confident that when the fellows' skills and dedication meet the full support of the OceanHub Africa and Hatch Blue teams, they will make waves in Africa.”

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