Three Seychellois women to showcase innovations in South Africa | 27 July 2019
Maria Sullivan, Tahkeerah Jean and Joanna Philoe are the winners of the FemBioBiz competition and will be representing Seychelles in a regional event to be held in South Africa in September.
The FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme allows women entrepreneurs and would-be female entrepreneurs with the opportunity to advance their innovations and concepts, which have to be linked with health and nutrition through science and technology.
It is being facilitated locally by The Guy Morel Institute in collaboration with the National Institute of Science, Technology and Institute (Nisti).
The FemBioBiz competition came to a head yesterday in the final round where six participants pitched their products to a panel of six judges.
The panel consisted of Radley Weber, Germaine Michaud, Pascalina Monty, Christina Esther and Chinduja Kamalraj.
Maria Sullivan, co-owner of Exotic Scents, came out on top for the adult category with her ‘Absolute Koko Skincare’ products, all of which are alcohol and paraben free.
She has been in the beauty and cosmetic industry for over 14 years producing soaps, bath bombs, massage oils and other body care products.
“‘Absolute Koko Skincare’ was born out of the realisation that we import a lot of our raw materials to manufacture our products. We determined that coconuts are an organic raw material that is readily available in Seychelles and wanted to better exploit its benefits,” Mrs Sullivan explained.
“It has been scientifically proven that coconuts and its tree have multi-benefits. Coconut oil, which is the main ingredients in the Absolute Koko Skincare range, can be used to treat heart disease; it boosts brain function and is good for the liver. It is also very good for skincare and health care which is why I integrated the oils in the range.”
Although she has been in the manufacturing business for over a decade, with two shops set up at Beau Vallon and Eden Island, Mrs Sullivan’s biggest challenge has been in the testing and certification of her products for export.
Through her upcoming exposure and participation at the FemBioBiz event in South Africa, Mrs Sullivan is hoping to garner help from foreign laboratories to finally test and certify her products.
“I want to effectively network during the event so as to receive technical support in terms of testing and certification and even through training courses. Those are my ultimate goals for the competition.”
Tahkeerah Jean from the Seychelles Business Studies Academy (SBSA) cemented herself as the winner for the student category with her ‘SeyFresh IceTea’, a drink she claims alleviates gas problems.
The drink consists of citronella, Thai basil and natural honey, and is a concoction she created when her child was suffering with gas.
“The ice tea is served chilled and which is more child friendly since children prefer to consume things that are cold rather than hot. It has been tested and proven that it relieves gas pain and I hope to take this further,” the 24-year-old stated.
The third winner of the competition, Joanna Philoe, sold the judges on her noni fruit (bwa torti) organic candy.
The noni fruit is known for its many health benefits but people are reluctant to use it because of its bad taste and smell.
“I wanted to transform the noni fruit in another form which is agreeable to consume, yet still good for you,” Ms Philoe explained.
The FemBioBiz competition is in its third edition in Seychelles and a fourth edition is expected to kick off next year with a new group of female entrepreneur hopefuls.