These speakers share their experiences and knowledge all to inspire and capacitate delegates and upcoming entrepreneurs through masterclasses, keynotes, and panel discussions.
Applications for SAIS'23 are closed, keep an eye on this page to join us on stage in 2024!
Ms Matsi Modise is the Chairperson of the Technology Innovation Agency. She is the Founding CEO of Furaha Afrika Holdings with experience including entrepreneurship, technology (HR and Fintech), innovation, policy advocacy, governance, skills development, venture capital and Enterprise Supplier Development. Ms Modise is strong in company governance as an independent director, trustee, and advisor of local, continental and global organisations in various industries (global logistics, gaming, fintech, financial services, academia, venture capital and private equity). Ms Modise leads the SA Startup Act Movement calling for policy reforms that will enable SA startups to thrive.
Adinda Preller joined the SBIDZ in 2019 in the post of Executive: Transaction and Investor Support at Saldanha Bay IDZ Licencing Company SOC Ltd (SBIDZ). She is responsible for the commercial interest of the tenant and the SBIDZ. She has 10 years’ experience in project delivery, value chain optimization and process improvement. Ms Preller’s industry experience in the oil and gas industry includes working for Shell as a Business Development Lead and for Schlumberger as an Offshore Field Engineer. She holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Cape Town.
Thabang Mpye is the Head of ICT at TIA. He is a veteran electronics engineer with primary specialization in Radio Frequency (RF) systems (terrestrial mobile and satellite) design and integration, digital communication systems, packet data networks, data routing systems/protocols and optic fibre technology systems (FTTx and DWDM). His career spans of 22 years’ experience in the ICT sector, both local and international. He is currently serving the public-funded innovation commercialisation agenda of the country in TIA. His strategic endeavours include pursuing the bridging of the ‘innovation chasm’ of 4IR/AI technologies in the country, especially amongst the youth and women in underserved areas of the country.
Jean-Pierre (JP) Smith has been involved in politics since 1989 when he joined the then Democratic Party (DP). He started working for the Democratic Party in 1994 until the formation of the DA party in 2000 and was elected Ward Councillor for Ward 58.
In 2001, he was elected as Chairperson of the Good Hope Subcouncil and re-elected in 2006. After the 2006 local government election, he was asked by the Mayor to serve as the Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, a position he was again appointed to after the local government elections in May 2011 and again in 2016.
He currently holds the position of Mayoral Committee Member for Safety & Security and Events, which includes oversight of the Metro Police, Traffic, Law Enforcement, Fire and Emergency Rescue Services, Disaster Risk Management, Public Emergency Call Centre and Film and Events Office.
He is also Proportional Councillor assigned to Langa and serves on the Provincial Executive Committee as Deputy Chairperson and Metro Regional Executive Committee as Deputy Chairperson.
He studies at Stellenbosch University where he earned a B.A. Degree (English) and suspended his Honours in English to take up employment in the DP.
He is currently the patron of the Cape Animal Welfare Forum.
Zach is the Managing Partner at Launch Africa Ventures – Africa’s most prominent and active early-stage VC Fund with a portfolio of 130+ tech ventures across 20+ countries. He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Startupbootcamp AfriTech – the leading multi-corporate backed venture accelerator program in Africa.
Zach is a prominent Angel investor in 50+ leading tech startups in Africa including Flutterwave, KudaBank, Mono, Marketforce and several others. He was featured on the cover of Fast Company Africa (May 2018), Destiny Man (Nov 2019) and on several occasions on CNBC Africa. In January 2020, he was recognized as one of the Top 4 Most Influential Persons in Technology in Africa by Les Echos (the French equivalent of the Financial Times).
Zach was formerly the head of Africa Investments for U-Start – the largest network of private Multi-Family offices in Europe. Prior to moving to South Africa, he was an investment banker on Wall Street covering mergers & acquisitions, corporate finance strategy and risk management at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, New York.
Zach has a Master’s degree in Finance & Management from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Outside of his professional life, Zach is an acoustic guitarist, pianist and vocalist with cover albums ‘Give A Little’ (2010) and ‘Humans with Hearts’ (2018) on iTunes and Spotify. He is an avid lover of theater and the performing arts, likes hiking and a good game of tennis and squash. He enjoys creative writing and is currently busy finishing a work of non-fiction.
Christine is a leading brand protection expert and partner at Von Seidels who works with both startups and some of the world’s most dominant players in the digital media, e-commerce and online services sectors.
She has been recognised in the Mail & Guardian’s “Top 200 Young South Africans” and in Managing IP Magazine’s international “Top 250 Women in IP”, having featured annually on its “IP Stars” list since 2014. Christine is a past-president and -director of Brightest Young Minds, a youth-driven incubator for social entrepreneurship. She currently serves on the International Trademark Association’s Internet Committee.
Christine has been described as “approachable and energetic” and cannot resist pausing to smell the new idea.
Cathy was appointed Managing Director of SAP Africa in March 2018. She is the first-ever female executive of an emerging markets market unit in SAP’s history. Cathy started her career in the insurance industry as an application developer. She also spent three years in the UK, consolidating her expertise, and held a number of executive roles for European and global markets, specialising in the outsourcing services business. Overall, she has more than 25 years’ experience in the IT industry, working for major industry players like IBM and Cisco. She joined Cisco in 2015, and as Managing Director, led Cisco’s go-to-market sales and digital transformation strategies for subSaharan Africa. Prior to her tenure at Cisco, Cathy spent 23 years with IBM, where she held various leadership roles in IT service delivery, HR and sales.
Thabiso Mashaba is Strategist, Cultural Economist, Policy Maker, Development Practitioner and Social Entrepreneur. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of These Hands GSSE based in Botswana and New Zealand; Chairperson of the Botswana Human Resource Development Council’s Creative Industries Sector Committee; Member of the Global IDIN/IDDS Steering Committee; Advisory Board Chairperson of YSAT Uganda and South Sudan; Executive Committee member of the IDIN Southern Africa Consortium; Member of the Southern Africa Innovation Collective Management Team; Winner in the Science Engagement Category of the Falling Walls 2022 Global Competition and an International Fellow of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF Fellowship) of the New Zealand Government.
Ketso is the CEO of the SA SME Fund. He has considerable experience in the private equity and impact investing space, both as an investor and fund manager.
Since joining the SA SME Fund in September 2018, Ketso has been responsible for the strategic repositioning of the SA SME Fund, specifically the focus on supporting SMEs through investing in Fund Managers that focus on venture capital, growth capital and impact investing and an industry-leading mandate that 50% of all funds deployed by the SA SME are into Black African businesses.
Prior to joining the SA SME Fund, Ketso held the following positions:
- Commonwealth Development Corporation (2014-2016) – Head of Africa.
- PPC Cement (2012-2014) – Chief Executive Officer.
- The Presidency, Government of South Africa (2009-2010) – Advisor.
- FirstRand Financial Services Group (2000 -2009) – Head of Private Equity.
In addition to the expertise above, Ketso was the first post-apartheid Director General in the Ministry of Transport; the City Manager for the City of Johannesburg during 1999-2000; and an advisor to the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency in 2009-2010. In the latter role, he sought to develop and institute performance outcome metrics and targets for all government ministries.
Ketso is passionate about impact investing and manages a personal investment portfolio with a focus on education in SA and Rwanda. Ketso also served as Africa advisor to the Omidyar Network.
Previous Advisory Board/ Board positions: Ketso has served on numerous private sector, foundation and non-profit boards.
Qualifications: BA (Politics and Sociology), M.Phil. (Development Studies)
Mmathebe is an investment professional, entrepreneurship scholar, and accomplished executive successful at leading teams through change, strategic corporate renewal through innovation, and investing in new value propositions. She is a multi-talented leader with a solid career history in information technology and telecommunications, financial services, and retail. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation from Wits Business School. Mmathebe is a versatile executive offering a 12-year track record of overseeing and managing strategy, execution, and investment in entrepreneurs to meet business objectives.
Patrick Krappie is the Acting CEO of the Technology Innovation Agency, having served in various senior management and executive roles in the agency. Mr. Krappie has a strong management background, having held senior positions in government institutions specialising in economic policy and negotiations. He holds an Honours degree in economics and has vast international working experience in England and Switzerland serving as a diplomat for 8 years representing South Africa as a negotiator in the World Trade Organisation, World Intellectual Property Organisation, and the United Nation Conference for Trade and Development. He was involved in the establishment of the TIA, facilitating the merger of seven entities of the Department of Science and Innovation.
Sacheen Kala is the current head of the founders factory Africa partnership at Standard Bank Group where he guides the deal-making process between the Founders Factory portfolio business and the relevant SBG business unit through exerting influence, without line authority. Prior to this role, Sacheen has worked as the digitisation lead pioneering innovation pilots with various teams.
Prof Mthunzi Mdwaba
Mthunzi is the CEO of TZoro IBC & TZoro Strategic Advisory, Chairman of Productivity SA, Co-Founder & Chairman of SANA (South African Norwegian Association) & Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Thuja Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a parallel universe ecosystem designed to be an innovative and disruptive employment creation company. In 2022 he had the DG role for NEDLAC Tripartite and SADC Tripartite Candidate for the ILO (International Labour Organisation), till the election on the 25th of March 2022. The ILO is a UN (United Nations) Tripartite Specialised Agency with 187 Member countries.
From a young age, Lyle had a keen interest in problem solving, which developed even further when he discovered software development while in high school. This led to him attending the University of Johannesburg where he graduated with a BSc IT degree. He may not have known it at the time, but Lyle had just taken the first step on his journey towards building Ozow.
After graduation Lyle worked for several organisations within the tech sphere, with the experience he gained working at these companies playing a vital role in the eventual creation of Ozow.
While working at these companies Lyle was able to identify the need for an agile, secure, and simple payment solution for merchants. Since founding Ozow, Lyle has contributed to building a platform that services thousands of merchants and facilities payments to these merchants from South Africa’s 47 million bank account holders.
More about Ozow: Ozow believes that payments should be easy. That’s why Ozow provides easy, fast, and secure payment solutions for everyone. From QR codes to point of sale, eCommerce, e-billing, peer-to-peer payments, and everything in between, Ozow has your payment needs covered. With Ozow, you can make and receive payments from anywhere and at any time. All you need is a bank account and a smart-enabled device. It’s that simple.
Mohlomi has over twenty years of experience in senior management positions. His experiences span from the NGO sector, corporate sector, and the public sector. He is an avid public speaker with over 20 years’ experience. He is currently working as the Senior Director for the Tshwane University of Technology’s Institute for Future of Work. His responsibility is to pioneer the initiative by the university to bridge the gap between the industry and the academia. This is to aid the university in its quest to produce high impact research, develop high tech solutions in partnership with the industry and to produce future ready graduates. He joined the university direct from the public sector where he worked for the Gauteng Department of Economic Development as the Director responsible for Strategic Partnerships, Special Projects, and International Relations. In this role he was responsible to source and forge strategic partnerships between government and corporate sector, lobby for the integration of the SMMEs into the mainstream economy through market access initiatives. He also liaised with the embassies, multilateral, and bilateral development agencies to facilitate collaborations and leverage foreign direct investment.
Tseliso Mohlomi has also worked for an American based Christian publishing company Our Daily Bread/Discovery House Publishing as the Vice President for Africa Operations. In this role he oversaw operations in Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. He led a process of change management through developing business processes, governance structures, human capital development strategies, business development and financial management. With over 20 years in global senior management positions Tseliso Mohlomi is also a freelance Executive Coach/Consultant focusing on intercultural leadership and integration.
Embassy of Switzerland to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius and Namibia
Jacquelene Friedenthal is the Science and Technology Counselor at the Embassy of Switzerland in Pretoria since 2010. She leads the African location of swissnex: the Swiss global network connecting the dots in education, research, and innovation. This network’s mission is to support the outreach and active engagement of partners in the international exchange of knowledge, ideas and talent.
She works in collaboration with the University of Basel – the Swiss leading house for Africa – to enhance cooperation in education, research and innovation with South Africa primarily. The instruments for cooperation include the: Swiss South African Joint Research Projects, Swiss South Research Chairs and the Swiss African Business Innovators.
Jacquelene has previously worked as the Deputy Director for the Department of Science and Innovation, where she focused on bilateral cooperation with Europe and the Gulf States. She initiated a number of science and technology agreements including the Swiss South Africa Science and Technology Agreement that was signed in 2007. Prior to this, she worked at the Embassy of Denmark on topics of renewable energy and energy efficiency in line with Denmark’s development cooperation with South Africa and several SADC countries.
A key interest for Jacquelene is Environmental Health and Planetary Health with a focus on applied research and innovation interlinked with addressing societal challenges at the core.
Mr Vusi Skosana, has accumulated over 15 years’ of experience in areas of technology transfer and innovation within the SME-related industries. In his current position as Executive: Innovation and Enabling Support in TIA his role is to implement the government’s strategy, to develop, support and promote tech-based enterprises. He is the Head of the Technology Stations Programme (TSP) mandated to be a catalyst and enabler for innovations and transfer technology solutions to start-ups, researchers, enterprises, especially small and emerging enterprises, to ensure their competitiveness in the global environment. He is the co-author of various academic journals, publications and strategic plans on technology transfer, SMEs competitiveness and incubation and has international experience in Innovative Policies Management and Incubator Development Programmes.
Ntuthuko Nyandeni is a Senior Commercialisation Specialist at The Innovation Hub, focusing on identifying and commercialising clean-tech start-up companies that have a good potential, but need support in reaching that potential and achieve greater business success. He has been an SMME champion for over 9 years, assisting in building notable SMME ventures across South Africa in various sectors.
His other Enterprise Development roles include serving as a Technical Advisor to several Business Incubators where he is responsible for providing oversight and technical advice on their programmes. Previously he was a Director of Enterprise Development at CEGE Consulting, where he was responsible for developing and implementing Enterprise Development strategies and programmes for corporations as well as supporting smaller (typically Black owned) companies develop their growth strategies and to access market opportunities. He also served as Enterprise Development Coordinator and a Business Mentor at Enterpriseroom ED Agency.
Ntuthuko also worked as an Investment Banker for more than 9 years. His first professional employment was at Investec Bank where he took on a Stockbroker role; becoming the first black person to be appointed as a stockbroker in their Cape Town office. He then moved to the Johannesburg office, where he worked as a Sales Trader in Institutional Securities division. Following great success at Investec, he then joined Sanlam Private Clients as a Portfolio Manager. Later he was headhunted to head the Dealing department within the investment unit at Argon Asset Management. He holds Master of Science degree in Finance from the University of London. His other educational qualifications include:
- Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand.
- Certificate in Business Incubation Management and Enterprise Development from UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership.
- Registered Persons and Financial Markets Traders Exams Certificates from the South African Institution for Financial Markets (SAIFM).
Ntuthuko’s quantitative and financial analysis educational background, his enterprise development as well as his investment banking experience, has equipped him to build strong relationships with clients and other stakeholders. He gained excellent insights into the world of international finance and through his experience in the investment space, and have extensively knowledge about Emerging Markets, particularly in Africa.
He is a born-leader who is very dedicated, self-motivated, and someone who possesses the detail-orientation and technical skills.
Karen is educated in international economic law and policy. Her work at Wesgro includes supporting Western Cape exporters, promoting the province as destination for foreign investment, and facilitating dialogue between government and private sector on identified challenges to international trade, investment and tourism.
Karen previously spent time working in Washington D.C. on international trade and development projects in Africa, as a legislative advisor in the South African Parliament, and at a commercial law firm in Cape Town.
She holds degrees in law (LLB) and in political science, philosophy and economics (PPE) from Stellenbosch University and a master in international economic law from Georgetown University.
With over 20 years in the IT industry, Alex has gained a vast variety of experience ranging from mobile and eCommerce, to FinTech and new product development. She heads up Digital Innovation for iOCO, focusing on the tech of the future and how to use innovation to build the companies of 2030. She is a web 3.0 enthusiast, and a certified expert in Blockchain, Blockchain Security, the Metaverse, NFTs, DeFi, and Mixed Reality.
Jason is a frontier technologist with over 3 decades working at the vanguard of emerging technology. His expertise lies at the intersection of technology, design, and business, which has allowed him to lead several successful technology companies in various fields: from fintech to personalised genetic testing, to gaming and educational instruction in VR. Specialising in immer- sive & engaging products that deliver value and spark customer delight, Jason has harnessed his wealth of knowledge to become a professional speaker, having given talks at international events like TED Global. He has also been the co-curator of South Africa’s largest TEDx event, and success- fully launched his own conference in AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data. Jason believes that advancing others in the tech industry is critical, which is why he has dedicated much of his time mentoring and coaching African TED fellows.He strongly advocates personal mastery and believes that education is fun- damental to everything. His presentation at TED Global asked: how educa- tional programs can use lessons from design thinking models to inspire and cultivate creativity, emotional intelligence, and entrepreneurship in future leaders.
Today, Jason shares his time between working on an assort- ment of tech-related puns and ‘dad jokes’ and leading the charge as the CEO of Sozo Labs. Sozo builds immersive applica- tions for education, occupational training, and soft-skills training. Crucially, Jason isn’t just a futurist thinker. He works at the forefront of contemporary technology, spearheading innovation in the emerging technology sector on a daily basis.
Ofentse Mokwena is the head of Policy at Uber SA. In this role, Ofentse is responsible for the management of the company’s public policy strategy, regulatory requirements, engagements with senior regulatory stakeholders, and local organisations and government in SA. Prior to this role, Ofentse was the Strategic Projects Lead, for Uber SSA where his role focused on building strategy, collaboration and execution on initiatives related to the Future of Work ecosystem. Ofentse has been with Uber since October 2021 and previously worked as a lecturer in transport economics at the North-West University: advising on provincial and national transport economic regulation decisions, thought leadership on transport issues and fostering relationships with stakeholders in passenger and freight sectors.
Born Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa, with a passion for building people and places, he has an MPhil in Transport Studies from the University of Cape Town, and is a PhD candidate.
McKevin Ayaba is a multi-award-winning Ecosystem Builder, Catalyst for Africa’s Economic Development, Innovation Economy Strategist, International Speaker, Startup Mentor, and Coach and system thinker.
Will Green has forged a successful career (with lots of scars) as an emerging market tech founder, advisor, investor and business accelerator.
He invests his energy in advising Start-ups, VC’s, Venture Builders and accelerating Scale-up companies as part of Co.lab his global network of successful serial entrepreneurs and brave business leaders.
In the past 3-year Will has worked with over 125 high-growth scale-ups and over 200 founders whom have generated over $110 million of liquidity back into the African tech ecosystem.
If you can’t find him on LinkedIn (@willgreen) you can join WillsGreenWalks every Friday at 6AM to summit Lion’s Head with him and 100 other awesome Founders, Funders and Business Leaders.
Thato serves as the Country Manager for Yellow Card in South Africa, leading operations and crypto-adoption efforts in the country. Prior to joining Yellow Card, he led multiple strategic, investment and operational initiatives at high-impact tech and financial services companies, such as Superbalist, Uber, Allan Gray and IDF Capital.
He also holds postgraduate diplomas – in Financial Planning and Information Systems – from Stellenbosch University, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Johannesburg.
Francois van Schalkwyk
Francois is the Operations & Engineering Manager at HyPlat, a subsidiary of Bambili Energy, and has over 10 years of technical and commercialisation experience in the hydrogen industry specialising in fuel cell component and material design, product development and process engineering. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt engineer, holds a B.Eng-, MSc- and is currently working towards his doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town. He was co-inventor of several HyPlat’s catalyst and MEA technologies from his time at the South African Council for Mineral Technologies (Mintek) and has continued to add MEA inventions and optimise manufacturing processes while at HyPlat. During his 10-year career he has had the unique opportunity to be involved in the lab-to-fab process of several technologies across the hydrogen value chain.
Jon is co-founder & CTO of space startup Hypernova. Based in the Western Cape, Jon has spent more than a decade in the space sector (government, commercial & academia).He is an alumni of Wits & Stellenbosch University, Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program in San Francisco and was recognised by the IAF global space organization as an Emerging Space Leader. He enjoys spending time with his two boys, making electronic music and cooking a mean pasta.
Glenda Setshedi is passionate about social entrepreneurship and making a difference. She is the founder of Pathfinders, which is an incubation company geared towards assisting township start-ups navigate from ideation to commercialization, such as TwinX Link, a local start-up with an innovation of digital X-ray glasses. Pathfinders is a network of over 40 startups operating in the Hammanskraal area in Pretoria, in various industries dedicated towards the development of the township economy through innovation and eradicating youth unemployment.Glenda is an internationally accredited NBI (Neethling Brain Instrument) Practitioner. Her drive for entrepreneurship, willingness to learn and collaborate has awarded her prestigious accolades such as that of the Mandela Washington Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame USA, a Presidential Award recipient, News24 Mandela100 Shaping South Africa and a recent recipient of JCI Top 10 Outstanding young Persons of South Africa 2021. She also co-heads a business called Career Active with a footprint in the USA and South Africa.
Saberi Marais (MBA (Stellenbosch University); MSc (UCT)) is an Innovation Commercialization Manager for the University of Cape Town; part of Research Contracts and Innovations. He commercialises the University’s research outputs to realise their intended impact in society and return on capital. Saberi has extensive experience in deep technology invention valorisation, project and business fundraising, deal structuring, investment funds management through the different stages of technology development and Venture Capital. He is experienced in a variety of industry sectors; including inventions in healthcare, medical devices, human and animal vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, biotechnology, renewable energy and various software and hardware applications. He was awarded the coveted DSI/ SARIMA Award for Professional Excellence in Innovation Management in 2020. He is a member of the SA Startup Act Movement steering committee. His previous work roles included the Head of the Seed Fund Programme at the Technology Innovation Agency where he oversaw the implementation, management and pipeline growth of the early-stage technology-enabling Fund; he worked as a Business Development Manager at Innovus, Stellenbosch University; and the SA Medical Research Council’s Innovation Centre.
My name is Gokul Nair. I am a Biomedical Engineer and Co-Founder of Impulse Biomedical along with my business partner Giancarlo Beukes. We are an award winning medical devices company that develops affordable healthcare technologies for emerging and developing world markets. We have 2 products, the patented ZiBiPen which is the only reloadable adrenaline auto-injector to assist in the treatment of anaphylaxis and the patented Easy Squeezy which is a novel assistive device for paediatric, geriatric and disabled asthma patients who struggle to use their asthma inhalers. We have an incredible team of engineers, scientists and doctors who work hard to bring value to patients’ lives.
Jesse has been in development since 1997 – first as a volunteer in a Johannesburg CBD-based NGO called SANGONeT, then working for an agency granting funds to NGOs in four Southern African countries for 15 years.
Since 2010, she has worked with Khulisa. Jesse has said that being able to be part of making a difference in another person’s life is the most rewarding feeling; it gives clear purpose and meaning to all to the efforts of Khulisa.
For over 10 years, Jesse also worked at the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, as the programme officer of the Fund for Local Cooperation, where she worked closely with local civil society actors.
Since then Jesse has founded the Streetscapes Project, a programme with the aim of addressing homelessness in Cape Town.
Tsietsi Maleho is a founding member of The Innovation Hub Management Company. – Africa’s first Science & Technology Park accredited by the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation. (IASP and AOI).
In 2008, South Africa hosted the first ever IASP conference in Africa and Tsietsi Maleho representing The Innovation Hub, was elected the first president of the African Chapter of the International Association of Science and Technology Park and areas of innovation. In his capacity as Chair of the African Science & Technology Parks, he helped to advocate for the formation of Science and Technology Parks in the African continent.
In 2009 he brokered a relationship between Technopolis Oulu Finland and The Innovation Hub to win a bid for the design of the business plan and operational model for The Botswana Innovation Hub. He has also worked to set up Science and Technology Parks in several countries on the African continent. Today the IASP & AOI has over 14 (fourteen) affiliated members from the African continent.
In 2009, Tsietsi Maleho helped to set up the twining of the cities of Oulu Finland and the City of Tshwane culminating in the formation of the Smart City of Tshwane a program with the objectives of setting up city-based innovation programmes between north and south cities.
Tsietsi Maleho currently works as General Manager in charge of Partnerships, Skills Development & HR. In this role he is responsible for investment attraction, establishing strategic partnerships between The Innovation Hub Management Company and industry partners, universities, & research institutions and government.
Lebo Leshabane is currently the CEO at iX Engineers. She has been the Deputy President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and a Council Member of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). She previously served on the Board of Spectrum Valuations Company and Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF). She is currently the Chairperson of National Electronic andMedia Institute of South Africa (NEMISA).
She has been involved in design, supervision and management of various engineering projects. Has served in various management and leadership positions in infrastructure, property and aviation industries for the past 19 years.
Sam Twala is the founder and CEO of Ntsu Drone Academy Pty Ltd, a drone legislation expert, drone enterprise and integration advisor and drone industry consultant. He wrote the original 2015 legislation in South Africa and is integrally involved in the development of the drone industry. Sam has a background as a senior system engineer for ATNS, a certification engineer at SACAA and Denel Dynamics and speaks regularly at major drone events around the world.
Kgomotso Lekola is an acclaimed South African entrepreneur and business leader who has been awarded at the highest levels for his accomplishments in business and product innovation.
He is the founder and group managing director of BT Industrial Group, which specializes in the engineering, manufacturing, and supply of innovative polymer-based products across Africa, the EU, and the Americas. Under Kgomotso’s leadership, the group is often noted for their production of electrostatic medical filters and patented specialized syringes in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kgomotso has maintained many leadership positions, including Executive Chair of the Board, CEO, COO, and General Manager in some of the largest and most dynamic businesses in the country. During his 20-year tenure, he has spearheaded and facilitated multi-billion-rand projects and international equity transactions.
Mariam Diedericks: Entrepreneur and business owner in the currently booming Renewable Energy/Solar PV industry.
She spent the first 17 years of her career in Private and Investment banking before venturing into Entrepreneurship in 2003. She has since started several businesses, with her pride and joy being her family-owned business in the Electrical Contracting industry, which has now expanded into the Green Economy.
Mariam has completed her Tertiary studies at the Damelin Institute. She’s a Certified Project Manager, and an advocate for the development of small businesses. She completed a Post Grad in Small Business Consulting and is currently completing her MBA online.
She has served as Chairperson of the Athlone: Cape Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of Western Cape Business Opportunities Forum (WECBOF) Mariam is a certified Business and Life Coach, focusing on women & family-owned businesses as well as the youth. She is also the Founder and Director of an NPO, whose mission is to empower community NGO leadership through education and training as well as economic opportunity.
Lindsay was on the EXCO of SAMED for 6 years and chaired the Code of Business Practice Committee before joining the ranks of MDMSA.
As a local manufacturer, he now heads up the Sub-committee responsible for Industrialisation and Localisation.
His ultimate goal is to work with government to acquire and implement a digital platform that will revolutionise the local manufacturing industry by means of using dedicated software to assist manufacturers in sourcing crictical information to identify business opportunities that result in import substitution of basic medical devices.
Coming from the construction industry, Nikita has spent the last 26 years in finance and entrepreneurship, focusing on the development of SMEs. First with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) where he went from managing a property portfolio to specializing in the due diligence of Tourism and Franchising enterprises, and later with Business Partners, where he is now the Regional Consulting Manager. He completed a Post Grad Diploma in Small Enterprise Consulting at TSIBA in 2019. His team is currently responsible for the non-financial services to small business clients in the Western Cape. This includes Mentorship, Technical Assistance and Corporate Governance in SMEs where Business Partners is a shareholder. At a regional level, Nikita is part of the management team and overseas Business Partners’ Enterprise and Supplier Development Programs.Nikita’s interests include following developments in the green economy, and the development of micro businesses.
My name is Jo-Anne Dreyer, I am the Provincial Support Officer for the DBE-E3 Programme in the Western Cape. My Qualifications are embedded in Small Business Management, being an Entrepreneur for the past 18 years and having provided support to SMME’S as a Service Provider for SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency). I am also a qualified Facilitator, Mentor and Coach with over 30 years experience in Relationship Management. For the Past 8 years I have been teaching Entrepreneurship in Primary, High and to our Young people who participate in out of School Programmes. Financial Literacy and coaching is another hat that I wear and I conduct these workshops in all industries.
I am also a Director of the Mizpah Foundation which is a NPO with the main focus on Women and Youth Development as well as the Community at large. I am passionate about developing the Minds of Young People to believe in themselves and their abilities no matter where they find themselves in life. My experience as well as my ability to relate to people from all walks of life is a strength and a key factor to my success. I am able to bring a unique element to my training, workshops and interactions by bringing the teaching material to life through real-life examples.I have many past achievements including being chosen as a finalist in the CITI competition for Women in IT, with my most recent achievement being the 2019 JA Facilitator of the year in South Africa award. I am passionate about helping people succeed in life!
Lesser known than other IDC business units, the Planning Function assists the group by identifying new, strategic and priority sectors or value chains, and developing value propositions and industry plans therefor and crystalising the IDC’s role therein. Kgashane’s responsibilities span across a number of sectors including the Digital Economy.
Prior to joining the IDC in his current capacity in 2021, Kgashane was the Executive: Strategy at ThankU Digital (a Division of Edcon) where he led the implementation of digital strategy and projects. His other experience includes a collective twenty four years in operations management, consulting and commercial leadership roles in the mining sector (AngloGold Ashanti), manufacturing (SAB and ACTOM) and own entrepreneurial ventures, and still dreams of commercialising his own inventions someday. Kgashane holds a BSc. Mech Eng. (UCT) and an MBA (INSEAD).
Krista’s career has been devoted to socially driven businesses in Africa. She studied at Wake Forest University in the USA and completed an International Honours Programme on global public health in India, South Africa, and Brazil. Settling in Cape Town, she joined a health-tech company serving children in under-resourced government schools.
In 2017, Krista co-founded multiple financial inclusion startups, impacting over 10,000 beneficiaries with financial education. In 2019 this led her to Injini, a pan-African EdTech business incubator, where she became Executive Director in May 2022. She designed all active programs and interventions at Injini, transitioning the business from EdTech incubation to acceleration. She also spearheaded the Injini Think Tank, focusing on localised industry research and advisory services.
Additionally, Krista is a member of the UVU Africa Group executive committee and serves on advisory boards for entrepreneurial support programs like the Global Schools Forum Impact@Scale Labs and Village Capital’s Future for Work Africa program.
Mr Brian Mphahlele is the Commercialisation Executive at TIA responsible for the full investment life cycle spanning deal origination, consummation, and ultimate exit across various industrial sectors. An au fait Intellectual Property management, Commercialisation and Business Development Executive, Mr Mphahlele graduated in Science (Microbiology and Biotechnology) and Law (LLB) from Wits University and University of South Africa respectively. Mr Mphahlele also completed an accelerated executive education program from the University of Emory Goizueta Business School.
Brian serves as non-executive director on the boards of UWC Innovations Pty Ltd and Innovolve Pty Ltd. He previously served on Eyeborn (Pty) Ltd, Technifin Pty Ltd, UViRCO (Pty) Ltd (Chairman), NTP Radioisotopes SOC, Ketlaphela SOC and Free Radical Process Design (Pty) Ltd.
Lungisa Matshoba is the Co-Founder and CTO of Yoco, an African technology company that builds tools and services to help small businesses get paid, run their business better and grow. Yoco offers card payment acceptance, software-driven business tools and working capital. Lungisa was born to a parental duo of medical doctors in the Eastern Cape city of Umtata and grew up in equal parts between the Eastern and Western Cape.
He grew up with a passion for business and started his first venture at the age of 13, designing and printing business cards from a computer his mother had purchased as an educational tool for the family. He later studied Business Science, with a major in Computer Science at the University of Cape Town, after which he decided to follow his passions and co-founded Yeigo Communications, a mobile VoIP start-up that built and commercialized one of the world’s first 3G based calling solutions. Lungisa was taking a break from start-up life in 2012 when Katlego Maphai approached him to become the fourth member of the Yoco founding team. At Yoco Lungisa has predominantly focused on technology, product development and innovation.
Iina Soiri is the Education and Science Counsellor at the Embassy of Finland in South Africa, covering the whole of the SADC region. She is part of the Team Finland Knowledge network, a group of Finnish experts stationed at Finnish embassies around the world, advancing education and science collaboration between local and Finnish institutions and sharing Finnish knowledge, expertise and educational innovations.
Iina holds 30 years experience in diverse executive and advisory roles in knowledge production and management, practitioner of public and third sector collaboration between Africa and Nordic countries. In addition to South Africa, throughout her career she has lived and worked in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Before working in the field of education and science, she functioned as a senior expert in development policy and global affairs, specialized in African contemporary development.
Prior to her current role, Iina served as the Executive Director of the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI), an institute that provides independent policy-relevant research on contemporary Africa.
Nchaupe joined MIC in 2012 after a stint with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) as a Senior Investment Officer. Nchaupe has in excess of 15 years’ experience within private equity and corporate finance and has served as a director on the boards of a number of portfolio companies in his previous roles and continues to do so within MIC’s portfolio of companies. Nchaupe’s current role includes leading the MIC investment team and taking responsibility for the investment process (from screening to realisation) at MIC. His previous roles include; Senior Investment Officer: Development Bank of Southern Africa, Private Equity and Corporate Finance Executive: Safika Holdings, Deputy MD: Tandem Capital (a private equity partnership between Safika Holdings and RMB Corvest), Board Representation: First National Bank (FNB), Peermont Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Universal Industries and DN Invest (DNI).
Nchaupe is currently heading the Khulisani Investment Initiative. MIC Khulisani is the Mineworkers Investment Company’s early-stage investment vehicle, providing capital for Black-owned businesses that are ready to aggressively expand and increase their market footprint while addressing the significant gap in post-seed investment for businesses that are not plugged into the dominant streams of venture capital networks.
Barati is the Director of the Tiger Brands Venture Capital Fund, which was launched in June 2021, with the aim of investing in innovative, high-growth, high-potential businesses within Foodtech, Agritech and consumer products aligned to the identified growth platforms of Health & Nutrition, Snackification and Economical Food Options. She has more than 13 years’ experience in commercial finance, private equity, and venture capital, having begun her finance career at Unilever where she held roles in South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, the UK and Australia.
Prior to joining Tiger Brands, she was a Vice President at Zebu Investment Partners, a pan-African private equity fund manager investing across the food value chain with a vision to change the way Africa views food production, sustainability, and investment. Barati led Zebu’s technology-enabled investments and was instrumental in the fund’s food distribution and consumer goods investments across East & Southern Africa. Barati also championed the fund’s gender-lens investment strategy and was part of the Southern Africa Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Gender Equality Initiative (AGEI).
Barati holds an MBA from the University of Oxford’s Said Business School, where she was a Said Foundation African Scholar, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from the University of Kwa- Zulu Natal.
Robert Hersov, 61, is a South African/UK entrepreneur and private investor currently based in Cape Town (after 30+ years in the US, Europe, and mainly the UK).
He currently serves as chairman/founder of Invest Africa, chairman/founder of African Capital Investments, chairman/founder of Alternative Capital, chairman/founder of the S-Group, chairman/founder of Lion Cage, non-Executive Director of both Emerge Gaming (ASX-listed) and the Cape Town Stock Exchange, and he is senior advisor to the founder of VistaJet.
Hersov’s grandfather, Bob Hersov, founded AngloVaal, one of Southern Africa’s largest mining and industrial companies, which his father, Basil Hersov, ran from 1973 to 2001.
Rob has been a member of many public and private boards and founded and owns companies in the aviation, resource, media/marketing, member network, and finance sectors.
He has been focused in the last decade on investing in Africa, a continent close to his heart given his upbringing and family ties. In May 2013, Rob founded Invest Africa with the specific purpose of delivering on the demand for high-quality relationships within growing African markets amongst investors and the business community. The private club has amassed over 400 high-level members.
Rob also founded African Capital Investments in 2014 to build an Africa-focused investment platform. And more recently he founded both: AltCapInvest (2017), a London-based international Family Office advisory and placement firm which is growing rapidly; and, the S-Group (2019), an exclusive international business- and community-focused private members organisation with a mantra of “pay the goodness forward”. In 2020, Rob bought Fisantekraal Airport (renamed Cape Winelands Airport) and launched a SPAC – African Gold Acquisition Corp ($414mil, NYSE-listed). He recently co-founded a $200mil Africa technology growth fund, Norrsken22. Rob received a B.B.S. from the University of Cape Town (1979-1982) and a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School (class of ’89). He served as an infantry officer in the SADF (1983-1984).
He is married, with four children, plays golf and enjoys swimming in open seas and in cold water. His nickname is “Chief”. He is not politically correct.
Dr Tony Bunn
Tony has a PhD in medical science (physics) and has been involved in health technology R&D, and specifically medical device innovation, for over 45 years. Whilst a researcher at the Stellenbosch Medical School in 1984 his spin-out company developed and commercialised the world’s first, portable lung function system. He was subsequently professor and acting head of the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Cape Town, an extra-ordinary professor at the Central University of Technology and Director of the SAMRC innovation centre (now SHIP) which he established in 2004. His academic research (in addition to scientific publications and postgraduate supervision) led to five successful, start-up health technology companies and one international company based on novel medical technologies that he was instrumental in developing. He also co-founded the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) in 2001.
He is currently a health technology consultant to the MRC-PATH Global Health Innovation Accelerator (GHIA) which he co-founded in 2014, a director of 4 health technology companies and a member of the MDMSA management committee.
Dr. Ilkka Taipale
Dr. Ilkka Taipale is a Finnish politician, physician, and civil society activist. He is a doctor and surgeon by education. He has worked both as a senior physician and as a docent of social medicine at University of Tampere.
Additionally, Dr. Taipale has been active in several social organizations and movements, advocating for the rights of many different groups (mental health patients, the unemployed, prisoners, homeless, etc.). Dr. Taipale has also advocated for peace, particularly through pacifist organisations such as International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).
Dr. Taipale has also been an active politician, having served as a member of the Finnish parliament both in the early 70’s and the early 2000’s.
He has edited the book “100 social innovations from Finland”, a collection of texts outlining the some of the most impactful innovations which have helped Finland out of poverty and towards sustainable development.
Belle Niba is Executive Director at African Ubora, a digital media and marketing company that helps create impactful connections and outcomes for its clients and communities. She is also Founder of African Vibes, the one stop global social platform that makes it easier and safer for people to participate in Africa’s growth and development. For over 20 years, she served as a Tech Leader for multiple fortune 500 companies. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Systems and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
Dr Brett Lyndall
Brett Lyndall Singh, 29, born in Pietermaritzburg, and grew up in uMngeni, Howick KwaZulu-Natal, is a Medical Doctor and Scholar at the Tsinghua University Vanke School of Public Health (China), jointly established by the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health (USA), holding a Masters of Medicine in Paediatrics, and did vocational training at Greys Hospital (RSA) and clinical electives at Royal Melbourne Hospital (AUS). In the initial outbreak of COVID-19, whilst working at the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, he was recruited to a special anti-pandemic task force unit which worked on establishing the clinical protocol for 5 infected Pediatric Patients, those protocols were shared with various governments to help prepare for the pandemic and earned him an honoree at the China national COVID-19 Commendation Ceremony. He is now the Chairperson of the South African National Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s National Healthcare Products Masterplan Global Value Chains Working Group. As a result of this work, Brett was honoured, as the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30, Class of 2022 and subsequently made the Cover of the Forbes Africa Magazine (June/July) as well as the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2022 in partnership with the National Lotteries Commission.
In South Africa, Brett is the Founder of Alpha & Omega MedTech, a Subsidiary of Alpha & Omega (AOM) Group, a United Nations Global Compact Participant, this level 1 BBEEE company is licensed by SAHPRA and approved by CDC Africa and African Union’s Africa Medical Supplies Platform, whose aim is Transforming Life Science through Research & Development on the Continent. With their Partners have developed the Groundbreaking KOVIFAST COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, and in July 2021 completed a historic R25M Donation worth of Rapid Test Kits to SAMRC for the Sisonke Vaccine Trial. This Technology was presented at the First International Conference on Public Health in Africa, by CDC Africa. He is also the representative for Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Healthcare Leaders Roundtable.
Alpha & Omega NutriPowder, based on his thesis published at the Geneva Challenge 2020, is a product of their iLifeAfrica Digital Healthcare Platform is the world’s first China-Africa initiative combating Sub-Saharan African Pediatric Malnutrition. This MedTech Startup Competed in over 40 Global Competitions and was a finalist at the United Nations 75th Anniversary University Startup World Cup, and a seed investment by winning China’s Biggest Competition, VC backed Beijing OTEC Conference, subsequently named Entrepreneur of the Year. Within the technology innovation space, he manages a China Africa Technology incubator in Beijing partnered with HICOOL, DongSheng Science Park and The Innovation Hub Management Company South Africa. Brett was named as the World Economic Forum Global Shaper, selected for the WEF’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions and was the delegate for SA at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance in Milan in 2021.
Fluent In Chinese Language, with over 10 years representing the African Diaspora in China, Brett helps improve FDI into South Africa by Closely working with the Beijing, Shanghai Missions of South Africa in his role as BrandSA Ambassador by Promoting South African Commerce, Culture, Tourism, Industrial and Academic Partnership. He is an Influencer in China as Panelist on the Series “Informal Talks” with his season raking in more than 120 million Views. He is a speaker at TEDx, Google Startup Grind and Global Leadership Summit organized events, This Influence helped his Alpha and Omega Foundation initiate multiple donation initiatives, with over 430K PPE’s in 2020, going to SA’s most affected areas.
As an SCI published researcher, He contributes to a number of Forums including Global Vaccine Symposium, United Nations Global Compact Young SDG Innovators Program, CCG Global Young Leaders Dialogue, World Young Scientist Summit, World Federation for Young Scientists, World Health Forum, China Africa Economic & Trade Institute. Africa Oxford Health Innovation Platform and the Africa China Leadership Association.
Dr. Vappu Taipale
Dr. Vappu Taipale is a retired Finnish physician and politician, as well as an civil society activist. She worked as a psychiatrist in various roles at the Helsinki University Central Hospital throughout the 1970s.
She has also held the positions of Docent (Associate Professor) at the universities of Kuopio (now the University of Eastern Finland) and Tampere, specialising in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Taipale served as the Minister of Social Affairs and Health and the Deputy Minister, from July 1982 to November 1984. Later she headed the National Agency for Welfare and Health, and after that was replaced by the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health in 1992, Taipale served as its Director-General until her retirement in 2008.
KK Diaz is a business and brand strategist, coach and 6-times author. He currently serve as CEO of A-Game Business, a growth-hacking and digital marketing agency that provides innovative strategies to help companies improve business performance, revenue and brand equity. He helps companies around the world to implement innovative business strategies, digital marketing tactics, processes and systems for transformative sustainable growth. KK Diaz is the originator of the methodology and author of The A-Game Business Blueprint – a multifaceted approach and collaborative ecosystem designed to help businesses achieve 10XGrowth. As a digital transformation thought-leader, he helps businesses unlock digital transformation, remain relevant and avoid disruption. His unique coaching style, series of training programmes, workshops, online courses, and books help business leaders and entrepreneurs gain a holistic view of strategy, marketing, sales and operations as a set of business processes that can and should be clearly defined, and therefore easily repeatable within the business for long-term growth and success.
Nicky Verd is an International Keynote Speaker, Kickass Author, Future of Work Coach and a leading thinker on driving innovation and digital transformation through culture. She is the voice for those who yearn to disrupt the status quo. Nicky Verd is passionate about unlocking human potential in the age of disruption. She has been recognized by Thinkers360 as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders on Digital Disruption and the Future of Work.
Dr Audrey Verhaeghe
Dr Verhaeghe serves on various boards where innovation, tech start-up investment and entrepreneurship play an important role. She has co-founded the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), The SA Innovation Summit (SAIS) and very recently ANZA Capital. She is an active angel investor. She spearheaded the commercialisation of the SA Innovation Summit as a Southern African Institution and main innovation event for the country. Her vision is to raise multiple rounds of funds to support 10 000 enterprises over the next 10 years across Africa.
Anda Ngcaba serves as the Chief Operations Officer(COO) at the University of Cape Town Financial Innovation Hub. Anda believes that blockchain will be a key proponent for unlocking the full potential of Africa’s three-quarters of a billion youth projected for the year 2030. Through his work at the Financial Innovation Hub Anda also serves as COO of Axone, a platform for content creators to collaborate in a unique way.
Anda also serves as a non-executive Director of The Cortex Hub, an incubator/accelerator based in East London and the Eastern Cape Film Hub as a way of developing young entrepreneurs from his home province. Anda holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town and a postgraduate degree from the Gordon Institute of Business Science(GIBS), University of Pretoria.
Anda previously served as an investment and research analyst for SolCon Investments, a technology
Paul Currie is Associate Director of the Urban Systems Unit at ICLEI Africa. He is a researcher of African urban resource and service systems, with interest in connecting quantitative analysis with storytelling and visual elicitation. His research and facilitation aim to further understand urban metabolism and circular development in African contexts. With ICLEI Africa, he supports African local government officers and stakeholders to take on systems approaches both in strategy and in implementation. His projects relate to themes of food systems governance, circular economy, nature-based solutions and food-water-energy nexus.
Sibusiso has a cumulative work experience of 20 years, the majority of which was acquired in various positions and disciplines in the Information Technology sector. Through his company The Sales Enablement Company he asses, advises, trains and coaches on various sales disciplines from sales strategy to sales execution. His clientele varies from small and medium enterprises right through to Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed companies.
Alexandra is the Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder of The Delta, South Africa’s fasting growing and most successful venture builder. She has worked with over 100 ventures across Africa and Europe, supporting them to validate their ideas, define their MVPs and launch their products to market. Her background in engineering, software, data and blockchain enables her to bring the technical perspective to the problems she solves, while her creativity & love for facilitation balances the technical perspective with customer-focused solutions. In her role as COO, she has scaled The Delta team, systems and proposition from 5 to over 180 incredible people and is passionate about designing systems, ecosystems & cultures that solve problems and unlock innovation.
As a curious and motivated self-learner, I gained a keen interest in computing at a relatively young age and started my IT career at the SARB. From those early days my career progressed quickly, eventually passing through the halls of Dimension Data, First Rand Bank, Standard Bank, and several Fintechs. I am a technology leader by trade, a teacher by necessity, but a problem-solver at heart. With a passion for helping others, many successful speaking and teaching engagements under my belt, and a proven track record of solving problems and enabling others, I hope to solve the many challenges facing humanity by equipping people with the mental and computational software they need to succeed in the competitive world of technology.
Cronje Jackson is a resourceful engineer and patent attorney at Von Seidels.
He has valuable experience in the engineering industry having spent a number of years working in the engineering industry before pursuing a career as a patent attorney. He is experienced in all aspects of patent and design prosecution, litigation and contractual work such as licensing agreements.
Cronje gained a healthy appetite for diverse technologies and can quickly get a firm grasp on an invention regardless of the field. This is reflected in the diversity of his practice, which includes work in the electric, electronic, mechanical and biomedical engineering disciplines.
Well versed in his field of expertise, Cronje is a guest lecturer on Registered Designs to the Stellenbosch University LL.M. (IP Law) students, as well as lecturer and examiner for the Patent Examination Board and the South African Institute for Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) students.
Marisa is a seasoned innovation ecosystem development practitioner with over a decade of experience. She holds a background in chemical engineering, and her journey has taken her through diverse roles in research and development, industry, government sectors, and has worked with various ecosystem players within innovation. Her unique blend of experience has positioned her as a bridge between research and development entities, higher education institutions, science councils, public entities, and the private sector. Her commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa is at the core of her professional identity.
Jeff is a passionate entrepreneur who’s walked the road of raising funds, and is unwavering in his efforts to find new ways to give entrepreneurs access to capital, and give investors access to exciting new alternative asset opportunities. He was a co-founder of Grovest and Seed Engine and several companies in the Grovest Group including MeTTa Capital Moderate Risk Funds I, II and III. Jeff is a pioneer of Section 12J Venture Capital Companies in South Africa and is an active member of various sub-committees of SAVCA and Simodisa, both of which focus their efforts on the South African Venture Capital industry. Jeff serves on the Board of the 12J Association of South Africa. Jeff is also an active member of the Young Presidents Organisation.
Tim is a dynamic young leader specialising in Digital Transformation, Innovation, Strategy, and Customer Experience. He has passion for helping businesses to create winning value propositions through a blend of deliberate strategy, innovative business models, and emerging technology (incl. AI, Blockchain, Cloud, Data Analytics, IoT, RPA, Web3).
Llew is the Managing Partner of Newtown Partners, a venture capital firm founded by him and Vinny Lingham. The firm invests globally in early-stage, emerging technology and disruptive business model startups that drive economic activity in a fundamentally positive way. In 2019 they started working with global logistics group, Imperial (JSE:IPL) to enable their corporate venture capital program. Newtown Partners operate out of offices in San Diego, U.S. and Cape Town, South Africa.
Llew is a go-to-market strategist with almost two decades of experience in digital product management and digital marketing. He co-founded Clicks2customers (rebranded to www.nmpidigital.com) with Vinny Lingham, now a global digital marketing agency with annual billings in excess of $100 million and Synthasite (rebranded to www.yola.com).
Llew is also the former Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, the original, the oldest and the largest cryptocurrency advocacy organization globally, headquartered in San Francisco, U.S.
Llew has a Masters degree in the Management of Technology & Innovation.
Puno Selesho is an exceptional Spoken Word artist and social entrepreneur who has performed on both international and local platforms for 12 years. Puno possesses a deep appreciation for words and people, which has inspired a journey of collaboration with a wide range of entities. Through words, Puno has brought many a project to life, and further hopes to help people see the world through a creative lens, challenge social norms and share the modern African narrative.
Yusuf Mahomedy has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a postgraduate diploma in Accounting, and a postgraduate Advanced Taxation certification. He is a Chartered Accountant, having served articles at MSGM Masuku Jeena (acquired by Pricewaterhousecoopers). He worked as an employees’ tax consultant at Ernst & Young and headed up the remuneration department at the MTN Group. He lectured on the MBA programme at Mancosa. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). Yusuf served on the Continuing Professional Development Committee at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) for 6 years. He is a former South African Board for People Practice (SABPP) member.
Yusuf is passionate about supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs on the continent. He serves as a business mentor at Business Partners, WomHub, and other organizations. He is the founder of Chart Your Path, which provides incubation, training, mentoring, and business support. To date, Yusuf has developed over 4000 entrepreneurs across the country.
Catherine Wijnberg is a powerful advocate for change, for entrepreneurs, for Africa and the planet with a particular passion for effecting impact at the ecosystem level.
Born in Zambia, she has two degrees in Agriculture, an MBA, and more than 30 years of business growth experience having created enterprises in 5 different sectors across 3 countries.
She founded Fetola in 2006, a leading provider of world-class entrepreneurial support programmes for African entrepreneurs, building businesses that last by designing scalable solutions that ensure social, environmental and economic impact.
Through their national business accelerators Fetola builds sustainable, empowered and thriving small and medium enterprises at scale. These entrepreneurs grow the economy, create inclusive wealth and generate jobs creating lasting anchors in the local economy, 87% of whom are still in business ten years later – which is 9 times the national average.
A thought leader on small business development, sustainability and circularity, Catherine was listed amongst the first ever Forbes Africa 50 Over 50 women in business, a spotlight on Africa’s female powerhouses who are inspiring the next generation.
Ahren was awarded the Investec Entrepreneur Leader of the year award (2016). He was also selected to present at the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) on breaking the walls of code and poverty in South Africa. In 2020 He was voted in the Mail & Guardian’s top 200 Young South Africans in the Editor’s choice category for innovation. In 2021 was awarded the GQ innovator of the year award and is now focusing his full efforts on onboarding and launching impactful Web3.0 projects in Africa.
Elmen Lamprecht is a HR Technology, Analytics and Virtual HR Expert, focusing on helping companies unleash the unlimited potential of their People through symbiotic collaboration between intelligent technology and human ingenuity.
Simon de Haast
Spanning multiple agencies in the Publicis Groupe, over the last 4 years Simon has been involved in various roles that guide clients’ thinking in experience design and innovation. One such initiative is the Tomorrow’s Revenue Lab he runs to help client brands such as Mercedes Benz, Sanlam, Nivea, and Vodacom experiment with product and service options with their customers, with a focus on how digital technology can act as a customer experience amplifier. Previous careers include running his own innovation consultancy (working across a wide variety of industries such as fintech, tourism, and paper & packaging), working at SAs largest ISP, starting a record label, as well as doing risk management at a bank’s treasury department.
From an ignorant, afraid, societal captured teenager living in a country with power outages and corruption. To become one of Africa’s top teenage entrepreneurs, Gen Z speakers and podcast hosts at only 17 years old.Marko founded one of the leading Gen Z business communities in the world called Hustlersglobal, where they are helping Gen Z entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses. He has worked with and continues to assist large corporates and other business entities to market more effectively to Gen Z, as well as how to influence their Gen Z workforce.He also Hosting one of South Africa’s top entrepreneurial podcasts interviewing some of the greatest entrepreneurs and industry innovators in the world. His love and passion to transform the lives of the next generation have lead him to create multiple businesses and work with some of the top brands worldwide.
Chief Executive Officer at Fomo, a Marketplace app connecting users in South Africa with restaurants, activities and accommodation, closest to them using geo-location. Avid tech entrepreneur, problem solver and business builder. Ryan believes Africa is the next tech frontier, and he builds online companies that address the needs of Africans.
Having started in the eCommerce Space in 2012 in operations at Zando funded by Rocket Internet GMBH, moving on then to found CompareGuru, (www.compareguru.co.za) under Compare Africa Group, funded by Silvertree a Fintech insurance aggregation under Silvertree Capital in 2014.
CEO at the SA Innovation Summit. A Chemical Engineer (UP) turned social entrepreneur. After a stint in management and innovation consulting, he worked with grassroot entrepreneurs setting up their businesses. He later co-founded a SaaS online exchange between Japanese investors and African Entrepreneurs which he left and set up a Data-tech start-up that later closed.
He published the book: How to start a business in 90 days. He is a data science enthusiast and property investor. He also hosts the Ubuntu Dreams Podcast – Your Voice of Africa Rising.
Majaja holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GIBS) and a Master of Management in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation (Wits Business School).
Buntu dreams of touching millions of African entrepreneurs. He believes that education and entrepreneurship are the keys to Africa’s productivity and inventiveness which will unlock its innovation.
Alon Lits – Former Uber GM now co-founder Panda appAlon joined Uber in 2013 as its first employee and General Manager in Africa. In 2015, he took on the role of General Manager for Uber in Sub-Saharan Africa and in 2019, Alon moved into his role as Director for the Region. He was responsible for the development and sustainable growth for the business and team across seven countries and 18 cities. Since leaving Uber in August 2020, he has been advising early stage tech companies across the continent.
He began his career in the leveraged finance division of Investec Bank Limited where he provided debt and preference share solutions to corporates and private equity firms across Africa. Alon was born and raised in South Africa and is passionate about the continent. He holds an MBA from INSEAD and is also qualified as an Associate of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries in the UK.
Allan Sweidan – founder Akeso mental health group, now founder of PandaBefore co-founding Panda in 2020, Allan served as the CEO of the Akeso Group of Psychiatric Hospitals, which he co-founded in 2008. Starting with one hospital in Randburg, the Akeso group grew to 12 hospitals across 4 provinces before it was sold to Netcare in 2018. Since leaving Akeso/Netcare in late 2019, Allan has been actively involved in health-related start-ups, retirement villages and child and young adult focused NPO’s.
Allan graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Wits University and proceeded to pursue his interest in psychology, qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 1998. After spending some time working in the public health sector, he moved into a private practice specialising in the treatment of dual diagnosis disorders (addiction plus a psychiatric illness or psycho-social distress). As in previous ventures, Panda brings together Allan’s passion for both psychology and business.
Merelda is the co-founder and CEO of melio.ai, an MLOps startup helping companies commercialise their AI projects. She is an MLOps evangelist who is deeply frustrated by the slow time-to-value for machine learning projects. Her vision is to create a world where every leader has access to the data that helps them make better decisions. Her mission is to make AI frictionless by building a bridge between business, data science and engineering. She enjoys leading multi-disciplinary teams to build PoCs, deploying them to production and continuously improve them to create transformative values for the business. She holds a BSc and MSc degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand. Merelda also co-organizes the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s Johannesburg chapter and is an avid meet-up and conference speaker.
Dzikamai Charles (or simply DC) Mabvaro is an associate director at Standard Chartered Bank. He is cDzikamai Charles (or simply DC) who worked as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank. He is currently working on setting up an ESG Venture Capital fund to invest in the electric vehicle ecosystem. Previously, DC has held investment banking positions at @Barclays Capital and investment management positions at Schroders Asset Management in the United Kingdom.
Cobus Rossouw is the Executive Vice President: Digital & IT and member of the Executive Committee of the JSE listed Imperial Logistics Limited. He founded Volition Consulting Services, which became the cornerstone of Resolve Solution Partners, the Lead Logistics Partner capability of Imperial, with annual revenue exceeding R1,5 billion and profits exceeding R100 million.
Within Imperial, Cobus has been instrumental in the conceptualization of the business strategy initiated for the combined African and International businesses in 2017, separated listing (with the unbundling of MOTUS in 2018) and the strategic focus on the “Gateway to Africa” leveraging its market access business model to complement its leading freight management and contract logistics capabilities (in 2019).
Currently, Cobus is responsible for clarifying how best to extract value from innovation, digitalization and technology convergence. He has focused on establishing the innovation venture fund and accelerating the digital transformation of the business.
Alison Collier is the Managing Director of Endeavor South Africa since 2019, bringing close to 20yrs of experience in Strategy & Business Development roles in Africa, Europe & Asia. Alison has first-hand experience in establishing global offices for multi-nationals, expanding South African start-ups from into the global markets and raising capital to finance this growth. Alison has worked at McKinsey and held Global Director roles in Strategy and Procurement at SABMiller and Unilever respectively, based in the UK, Switzerland and Singapore. In 2015, Alison led the expansion of Cape Town-based BOS ICE TEA (Endeavor Entrepreneur) to Europe, successfully setting up offices in Amsterdam and Paris. Prior to returning to SA in 2019, Alison was based in Singapore where she led Unilever’s Global Strategic Sourcing team including leading The Digital Transformation of Unilever’s Global Procurement incorporating a number of start-ups into Unilever’s global supply chain. Alison holds a B.Bus.Sci degree with Honours Finance from UCT (2000) and an MBA from INSEAD (2004).
VUYISA QABAKA is the Southern Africa partner at Pan African innovation advisory firm, HYBR Group. He holds directorships and advisory roles on various start-up boards, and is a founding non-executive director, equity crowdfunding platform, Uprise.Africa.
Past projects have included setting up creative business strategies and innovation spaces, as well as consulting at executive committee level, with a focus bringing disruptive market positioning, offbeat social impact initiative and ecosystem development. Being involved with numerous companies and projects over the years, Vuyisa has built up extensive experience in corporate communications, business innovation, business development and marketing. His journey into entrepreneurship already started as a 2nd year student when he was involved with launching a student magazine and the Afriquezeen restaurant at UCT Upper Campus, he has since gained over 15 years of experience in the African business ecosystem and beyond.
Vu or “Chief”, as he is known in business circles in Africa, currently consults in marketing and communications for the ICT industry and past projects include The Barn Khayelitsha, SiMODiSA, Startup South Africa Conference, Executive MBA startup mentorship with Columbia Business School. He currently serves on the boards of the Africa Tech and Creative Group (ATCG), a Pan African community and industry body working on the ACfTA.
He has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) Degree and a Postgraduate Certificate in Property Analysis at the University of Cape Town and a Design Thinking in Practice short course from the D-School, at the UCT Business School. Vuyisa is currently studying towards a Certificate in Digital Money through Digital Frontiers and a certificate in design thinking from Stanford University.
Vuyisa is a regular tech media contributor and has a weekly column in the Business Report, part of the Independent Media Group and the largest English language business publication in South Africa. But his media talents extend further than just writing. He is a past television host/presenter of Business Beat on Cape Town TV (DSTV Channel 263). He conducted economic studies tours in Israel, Italy and Peru. He mentors start-ups in various townships through SABEF’s Kasi2Kasi initiative and Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.
Mervyn is a seasoned advisor to senior executives on topics of corporate strategy, digital modernisation and business innovation. With an international career in the tech sector, he has worked for bootstrapped, rapid growth and mature software firms and has run boutique advisory businesses in South Africa and the United Kingdom. At SAP, Mervyn focuses on helping organisations understand the role of tech in future-proofing their businesses, serves as local ambassador for the global AppHaus customer co-innovation program, and leads the Africa component of the SAP’s global intrapreneurship program.