CSIR targeting SMME’s and holders of indigenous knowledge to come forward with ideas
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says it will help small cannabis businesses develop commercial products through a new incubation programme. The project is being supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and Gauteng’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD). In a statement released on 17 May 2022, the CSIR said it would make its agro-processing capabilities available to start-up entrepreneurs and holders of indigenous knowledge (IK) wanting to develop cannabis or hemp products.
The CSIR has called for expressions of interest (EoI) to be lodged by 2 June 2022.
The statement reads: “The current EoI call is targeted at IK holders, entrepreneurs and SMMEs interested in developing cannabis and hemp products in the agro-processing sector, with a specific focus on the whole value chain from primary processing to products and processes development for commercialisation. This will include drying to extraction of key cannabinoids and terpenes- active ingredients from the plants and formulation thereof into herbal products, food and supplements, fortified products, topical ointments, etc”.
What the CSIR will offer
The CSIR agri-processing group will, in its own words, offer the following:
- Infrastructure and skilled human resource support (scientists, technologists, process engineers).
- Technical incubation support.
- Analytical support, shelf life, nutritional studies, experts in medicinal chemistry and quality control.
- Bio-based product development, formulation and labelling/packaging;
- Business and marketing entrepreneurship.
- Mentoring and training in manufacturing skills; and
- Liaise with other organisations to build and expand the network of the SMME.
What the CSIR will not offer
The following will not be covered under the EOI call:
- Requests for infrastructure or purchase of land;
- Projects at ideation phase;
- Requests for start-up costs;
- Requests for operational costs (salaries, rent, telephony, etc.);
- Requests to establish farming of the plants (primary agriculture);
- Efficacy studies;
- Clinical trials;
- Contract manufacturing at commercial scale; and
- Certification of products/accreditation of facilities.
The requirements bidders have to comply with are:
- SMME must be registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC);
- Concept processes and product prototypes under development;
- Demonstration of markets and business plan developed;
- Company current financials and turnover if any; and
- Clear description of the type of technical assistance required prioritised in terms of the commercial market.
The CSIR says the EoI’s must come from registered companies or organizations and that individuals cannot apply in their own names. It also doesn’t want any applications filled out by hand and any CSIR staff or entities won’t be considered either.