Boitumelo Sebambo is the CEO of a local biotech pharmaceutical company called 3Sixty Biomedicine. The company produces treatment solutions based on herbal extracts using cutting-edge technology to tackle common women’s health issues. Think: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and infertility linked to PCOS, heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual pain and menopause.
But there’s more… Boitumelo has also developed a unique skincare range based on cannabidiols, known as Cape Sativa.
She tells Go Hustle about how she’s tackling problems to improve women’s quality of life.
Boitumelo is passionate about women’s wellbeing – and she takes a holistic view, from health issues to access to finance, and closing gender pay gaps… “We have to find ways to #BreakTheSilence on common women’s health issues,” she says.
“I started as a developer, and as a woman and black person, in general, [we] were underrepresented at every level. I could not identify sponsors and advocates for my development. I asked to move to another role, and in that role, I intentionally formed connections with other women that looked like me. I remain friends with most of those women. They are my tribe,” says Boitumelo.
A foot in the industry…
Maths and science are important subjects to take at school, followed by a tertiary education that gives you a science and business background, explains Boitumelo. “My journey included a BSc degree at UCT, followed by an MBA specialising in sustainable development from HULT [International Business School] in Shanghai, China. There is no substitute for hard work and grit, and that’s something every woman in business has to have in their arsenal, especially when it comes to male-dominated industries,” she says.
Graduate and learnership programmes at 3Sixty Biomedicine
3Sixty Biomedicine in partnership 3Sixty Health offers both graduate and learnership programmes with the aim of creating job opportunities for South African youth. The programmes are run annually. “By doing so, we are trying to meet government halfway in their objective to increase skills development in the country and alleviate poverty,” says Boitumelo.
Leadership and life lessons learnt along the way
1/ “Have goals and be present [in] those goals; carve your path.”
2/ “Create a solid and diverse support structure for yourself. There will be mistakes – many of them.”
3/ “Our society finally understands that individuals have more than one area of interest. So, take the opportunity to build something – have a side hustle or two.”
A must-read book for every woman
“I am a fiction lover, so The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: A tragic story of Pecola Breedlove, an African-American pre-teen from an abusive home. The story explores racism, [and] its impact on the individual and society. It also weaves [in] love, nature, community, power, beauty and the quest for beauty. At every stage of my life, I deal with one or many of these themes,” she says.