In 2017, the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2) founded our community of learning called Connected Hubs as a network of innovation support organisations from across Southern Africa. As Connected Hubs, we went from strength to strength together, exchanging best practices amongst our members and collaborating to share knowledge and support innovation across borders.

Now the time has come for us to take flight. To set our own course and come into our own under our new name.  

We are the Southern Africa Innovation Collective (SAIC).

Join us for our launch event to take place at the SA Innovation Summit 2021; find out more about the Southern African entrepreneurship environment, how this environment can be supported, and what we at SAIC are doing to contribute to a thriving entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem across the region.

Stronger Together: Reflections on building, supporting, and growing a diversified multilateral and multi-sectoral innovation and entrepreneurship environment in Southern Africa

Delivered by Marko Saarinen, Counsellor, Development Cooperation at Embassy of Finland

Marko Saarinen is working as Counsellor for Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria since 2019. He is responsible for Finland’s regional development cooperation programme in Southern Africa and oversees the implementation of the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2). He has worked with private sector development programmes for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and for the United Nations for 14 years in various sectors in Southern and East Africa, as well as in Southeast Asia. Innovation systems and startup ecosystem development have been part of his programme portfolio since 2015.

Reflections on Regional Innovation Support: Lessons learnt by the SAIS 2 Programme and what the future holds for innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem support mechanisms

Delivered by Ilari Lindy, Lead Expert, SAIS 2 Programme

Ilari Patrick Lindy is the Lead Expert at the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2) based in Windhoek, Namibia. Before joining SAIS 2, he worked as Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank in Washington D.C. on digital innovation and development. Ilari has served as a Senior Advisor in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Finland on information society and innovation as well as in various positions in European Union institutions and bodies related to digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

Introducing SAIC: Who we are, what we do, and the benefits of regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem support in Southern Africa

Delivered by Patrick Krappie, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)

Patrick Krappie has a strong management background, and is an Honours (Economics) graduate. He served as a diplomat for eight years, representing South Africa as a negotiator in the World Trade Organisation, World Intellectual Property Organisation and the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development. In addition, he served in the OECD Development Assistance committees, where South Africa is an associate member. He then joined the Presidential Task Team, serving as Deputy Envoy in the negotiation for the establishment of the BRICS, the latter’s participation and association with the G8, and the ultimate establishment of G20. His latest venture involved the establishment of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in 2009, facilitating the merger of seven of the Department of Science and Innovation’s pre-existing business entities. Since then, he has served in various senior management and executive roles, and currently serves as acting CEO of TIA.

Sustainable International Donor Funding: de-risking investments through collaboration

Delivered by Tendai Mazhude, Chief Operations Officer, mLab

Tendai is passionate about supporting the proliferation of high-growth businesses and their innovations across the African continent. This entails understanding the challenges faced by enterprise support organisations as well as the entrepreneurs and innovators within their programmes. His professional experience spans over 12 years, with seven organisations in multiple roles. He also has additional entrepreneurial experience from a number of ventures he has set up and run. Tendai has an M.Sc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from the Manchester Business School (University of Manchester) and a joint honours degree (Joint BA) in Business Management/Marketing Management & Branding from the University of Gloucestershire.

This launch will take place at the 2021 SA Innovation Summit 2021 – Expanding Horizons, find out more and grab your ticket Africa’s largest start-up event here