Chemin is a technology business incubator specialising in supporting the start-up and growth of small and medium enterprises in the downstream chemical industry. Chemin's headquarters is situated in Port Elizabeth, but operates at various projects throughout South Africa.
Chemin's focus of developing the downstream chemicals manufacturing industry in South Africa is predominantly at the fine and performance chemicals sectors. These sectors include relatively high value pure chemicals that are typically used as active ingredients in formulated products such as pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals, as well as all formulated speciality chemicals used in industrial and non-consumer applications (e.g. paints, mining chemicals, textile specialities, paper chemicals, etc.), and pure chemicals used primarily for their functional properties (e.g. surfactants, biocides, etc.), but does not exclude the production of other downstream chemicals.
Recognising that it is practically and financially impossible for start-up businesses to establish and maintain all the resources that might be required to be successful in downstream chemical production, Chemin has established collaborative linkages with stakeholders and institutions experienced and willing to be service providers to incubatees.
This includes, amongst others, technology feasibility evaluation, forecasting and audits, environmental regulatory compliance, product registrations, analytical services, process and product development and optimisation, process scale-up and plant design, technical and economic evaluations and toll manufacture for product testing.
Chemin, in addition to the provision of technology incubation services, provides business incubation and business nurturing services to incubator clients, as well as mentoring facilitation, partnering and networking assistance, strategic and business planning services, accounting and financial management support, including tax assistance, maximising utilisation of existing governmental industrial incentive packages and sourcing of developmental funding, as well as seed, venture, equity or asset finance.
Existing basic infrastructure and equipment on-site are available to incubatees and project specific requirements not immediately available, will be developed on-site as needed, or sourced from competent and cost-effective service providers. This includes office space and equipment, telecommunication facilities, Internet and e-mail facilities, IT equipment and software and pilot/ kilolab facilities.
Chemin has access to state-of-the-art chemical facilities required for technology prototyping or proof of concept projects, which form an integral part of the essential development stage of each project's growth. This includes a multi-purpose chemical reactor plant, which is fully computerised and can be purpose-specific configured to the requirements of individual clients.
Chemin has been involved in numerous successful projects since inception in 2002, and is also actively pursuing selected projects from tertiary institutions whereby the postgraduate research of doctoral student - which has commercialisation potential - has been taken on as an early-stage incubation project. This has the added advantage that it provides a career opportunity for postgraduate students not previously readily available to them, that of entrepreneurship.
Chemin's main objective remains to be a significant role player in the establishment of an entrepreneurial culture leading to successful downstream chemical production industry in South Africa, and to act as a catalyst in making the country the most diversified downstream chemical producer in the southern hemisphere by 2020.