Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation

Unisa student innovator accepted into the UK Future Female Business School

Caroline Matenchi

Innovator and Biomedical Science student, Caroline Mantenchi, was one of the winners of Unisa’s 2020 Innovation Challenge and is currently part of Unisa’s Pre-Incubation Programme supported by the Directorate of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (DITTC). Mantenchi is set to graduate this year, 2022.

Basanda Pongoma, leader of the Pre-Incubation Programme, has seen tremendous growth in Caroline Mantechi’s early-stage start-up based on an Agricultural Smart Sensor, which measures seven distinct parameters when plugged into the ground. It is waterproof and dustproof and supports wireless remote viewing for improved harvests through databases. Three of her prototypes are currently in the validation stage and being tested by several agricultural researchers. Mantenchi has received generous support from the Pre-Incubation Programme through seed funding and leadership in project management, customer development, product development and mentorship for her start-up development.

The Unisa Innovation Club shared applications for the Future Females Business School Accelerator Programme, and Matenchi immediately applied. She explained that she felt that her product would fit well into the programme and that she had met all requirements on the application. Soon after her application was submitted, she received a confirmation email and was booked for an interview with one of the programme organisers.

She is currently in her third week of the programme and was assigned a coach and weekly classes. Mantenchi has been working with her coach on Green-Tech content and developments in South Africa. Future Female Business School is a movement aimed at increasing the number of females and their success in tech-based businesses, allowing them to impact their communities positively.

The Future Female Business School has the largest and most engaged community of female entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs globally, which wishes to connect, inspire and support females with a start-up, inter-median or functioning business. The programme has developed two signature products. First, the Future Females Business School is a 10-week online accelerator programme in collaboration with countrywide stakeholders to help develop business ideas into a validated business model. Second is the Future Females Founders Club, a paid subscription-based community where women get a facilitated space to grow, learn and accelerate together. The club is for solo entrepreneurs, freelancers, (aspiring) entrepreneurs and everyone who believes in the power of community for business. In addition, they run monthly themed events in all the cities they operate in through their ambassadors and focus on topics that were voted for by the community, such as ‘the entrepreneur mindset’ and ‘using your influence’.

Unisa’s Pre-Incubation Programme has provided Mantenchi with the opportunity to be part of the Future Female Business School, which she believes has created a space where women can feel vulnerable, give and receive feedback while sharing in each other’s successes and lift each other when needed. The Pre-Incubation Programme, offered by the DITTC will continue to place Pre-Incubation Programme participants with well-aligned incubation hubs that can support the development of their prototypes.

For more information on the Future Female Bussiness School, please visit the following link:,bring%20their%20businesses%20to%20life.

*By: Yoko Bewick, Directorate of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation

Publish date: 2022/11/30

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