Sithembile Dingake is the coordinator of Botswana’s first innovation fund, the Botswana Innovation Fund (BIF). As the fund’s maiden coordinator, she has played the leading role in all aspects of its operationalization. Thembi has a long track record in the Financial Services sector within the SADC region, working with AON Botswana, Barclays Bank Botswana, ABSA South Africa, Enablis South Africa, and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. Concurrent with her Innovation Fund Manager work at IDC, she was appointed by the Minister of Science and Technology as an Investment Committee member for the Innovation Fund. Thembi passionately advocates for the development of solutions which address local challenges but can scale globally.
Ilari is the Lead Expert at the SAIS 2 Programme. Previously, he worked as a Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank on digital innovation and development. He has served as the Senior Advisor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland on policies and instruments related to innovation and information society for development, as well as in various positions in European institutions and bodies related to digital innovation.
Dr Audrey Verhaeghe is an entrepreneur and a supporter of entrepreneurs. Chairman of The SA Innovation Summit (SAIS), she spearheaded the commercialisation of the SA Innovation Summit as a Southern African Institution and main innovation event for the country, with 32 countries participating. She founded the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) and they are renewing economic clusters. Her newest adventure is to work with the Unicorn Group based in Mauritius to look for investible tech-based enterprises across Africa. The Unicorn Group wants to support 10 000 enterprises over the next 10 years across Africa.
As of June 2019, Anneline assumed the role of Senior Programme Officer responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation at the SADC Secretariat under the Directorate for Industrial Development and Trade. During 2014 to 2019, Anneline was seconded to the SADC Secretariat as the Senior Technical Advisor for Science Technology and Innovation (STI), where she was responsible for facilitating and coordinating regional STI policies, strategies and programmes in support of SADC Member States. Prior to her role at the SADC Secretariat, she held the position of Director: Africa Cooperation at the South African, Department of Science and Technology (2007-2014), where she was responsible for managing international engagements and partnerships with African countries in the area of science and technology. Anneline has many years of experience in championing regional cooperation in STI, which has resulted in the initiation of several regional programmes and projects. She has also been instrumental in the coordination and development of regional STI policies and strategies such as the SADC Strategic Plan and Implementation Plan on STI, SADC STI Climate Change Framework, SADC Cyber-Infrastructure Framework, SADC IPR Framework and Guidelines, and SADC Innovation and Technology Transfer Framework and Action Plan. Anneline has also played a key role in brokering strategic partnerships and networks with programmes such as SAIS, SANBio, SASSCAL etc in supporting the advancement of science, technology and innovation in the region.
Tshepo Tsheko is the Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH). He is responsible for developing and implementing strategies that promote BIH as the home of innovation, attract innovative ventures to join the BIH innovation ecosystem and partner with BIH to collaborate on strategic and commercial innovation projects. Tshepo is also responsible for the overall IT and ICT strategies for BIH corporate, its innovation support programmes as well as the BIH Science and Technology Park. He assumed the role after a three-year stint as founding Programme Manager of the BIH hybrid incubator/accelerator, First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC).
Alexandra Fraser is a business owner, angel investor and start-up advocate in Africa. She’s passionate about building a vibrant, sustainable high growth entrepreneurial ecosystem across the continent. With over 15 years’ experience in early-stage investment, she works with a variety of startups to grow their businesses, raise funding, access new customers and markets. Clients include the World Bank, mLab, V&A Waterfront and other organizations across the continent. She’s a founding member of the ABAN and a co-founder of Dazzle Angels. Alex holds a BSc and a PGDP in Entrepreneurship from the University of Cape Town, and a Masters (International Business) from the University of Edinburgh.
Kennedy Liswani is the founder of Elephonic Mobile Technology Africa, a consumer electronics and mobile communication company which produces the award winning mobile phone KATOSHE D30. The mobile phone operates in African languages and uses a portable solar charger. With over 10 years of experience in positions of management in the corporate banking landscape, Kennedy realised that he is an entrepreneur by nature and has built a successful track record of consistent value creation over the years across all business for which he has been responsible. In 2018, he was inducted into the Namibia Business Hall of Fame as an Emerging Entrepreneur and was also a winner of 2018 Southern Africa Start-up Award for Founder of the Year. He is a passionate advocate of innovation and entrepreneurship and is the author of the book ‘Just Start ‘, a guide for start-ups on their entrepreneurial journey.
Raymond manages the ITTHYNK Tech Academy, a skills development programme that provides software development training to unemployed graduates in South Africa and Tanzania to prepare them for the 4th Industrial Revolution. He is the CEO of ITTHYNK Smart Solutions, a digital consulting and software development company that was awarded the 2017 South African Small Business of the Year (Top 20). Raymond has over 10 years of professional experience (locally and internationally) having worked for PwC in South Africa, Nigeria and the United States of America. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Raymond was the Vice President of Product Control at Barclays Africa and worked on technology and finance related projects in Egypt, Botswana, Ghana and Kenya. Raymond is a Mandela Washington Fellow, former President Barack Obama's flagship leadership programme for young Africans and was voted as one of the top 10 most influential young philanthropists in South Africa in 2017 by Avance Media.
Catherinerose works as a consultant in innovation, gender, talent and the future of work. She is co-founder of 10, an engineering venture working to close the technical skills gap for employers in Africa through project based, hands-on industry engineering and training. Prior to this, she co-founded Tanzania's first privately funded innovation and technology hub called Kinu, which successfully ran between 2011 - 2017. The Kinu innovation space was formed with the mission of growing and accelerating the Tanzanian technology and social landscape through capacity building and developing a culture of collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship and co-creation. Catherinerose is a country expert for the World Mobile Summit Awards, a Fellow of Africa Leadership Initiative, East Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is the Founding Curator of the Dar es Salaam Global Shapers Hub, a WEF initiative. She is a board member of the Alliance Francaise Tanzania, Jambo Bukoba and the ALI East Africa Foundation.
Yandile Nuku is a content strategist, developer and producer. In her quest to understand how the Botswana and African economies function together with their opportunities, she has interacted with 150+ entrepreneur’s, corporate executives, experts and junior professionals across Africa ranging from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zambia to Kenya. Her background in Accounting and Finance has equipped her to deliver content that improves operational efficiencies for business owners, managers and leaders. Yandile Nuku’s exposure to functions of data capturing & financial statement analysis, business journalism, product and business development, programme design and implementation in Broadcasting/Media, Financial services, Digital mobile technology & Education start-up environments, respectively, has led her to identify a gap in the market and start a knowledge company, Giqmedia. Giqmedia provides data analysis and content services for individual and corporate brands to meet their Branding, Marketing and CSI needs. As an emerging entrepreneur, she has found a unique way for the MICE, Media/Broadcasting and Education industries to interact through data and content services.
Tumelo Mapila is the Founder of All Bosses (Pty) Ltd; a company that has strategically established itself as an intuitive data solution provider. Tumelo is well known for his flagship product Focus Surveys; a data collection and data analysis solution curated for the modern data decision maker. Tumelos’ leadership has seen the company through several growth phases in its technology stack, its team and its value proposition over the years. He is an adaptable, motivated, and personable young professional whose dynamic work experience traverses a range of data collection and analysis project environments. He has brought about innovative transformation in various organisations where All Bosses solutions were adopted to meet and exceed organisational strategic objectives. He is a graduate of the first cohort of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Go-to-Market programme which has enabled him to refine his proposition for the Global market.
Marnix’ career started in the creative industries, running a youth hub and various business initiatives in the Netherlands. After a short career as a diplomat, he joined international NGO Hivos in 2014 and developed himself as an expert on Entrepreneurship Ecosystems and support in the Global South. He has experience as a Programme Development Manager in various sectors of business support throughout the African continent and Southeast Asia. After moving to Hivos’ Southern Africa regional office in Zimbabwe, he further developed and implements various programmes (such as FemBioBiz, Green Entrepreneurship Support Program). With expertise in the creative industries, ICT, sustainable agri-food, renewable energy as well as access to finance, he is known to be an outspoken personality on entrepreneurship support, youth empowerment and the role of innovative finance in all of this.
Alana was one of the first graduates in South Africa with a degree in innovation and business principles. Having grown up in Botswana, she has a passion for ensuring a bright future for Africa by empowering youth through innovation. Since graduating, she has focused primarily on start-up support through training, product development, ecosystem building and building capacity for entrepreneurs. She is currently managing the Regional Connect initiative run by RIIS and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), and also serves as an Ambassador for the Southern Africa Startup Awards.
Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of Greentec Capital Group, which invests in African startups and SMEs with a focus on combining social and environmental impact with financial success. He is in charge of financing, investor relations and business planning. During his successful career at Deutsche Bank, Thomas decided to apply his financial expertise towards work with more direct impact. Familiar with the challenges in emerging markets, he saw that his abilities and knowledge could make a significant difference for companies and projects that wanted to grow in emerging markets. Thus, he decided to make it his full-time business. He is fluent in English, Spanish and German. As a father of two sons, it is important for him and his wife that they grow up in a better world.
Evelyn is the founder of Lupiya, an online platform for micro lending and borrowing. Lupiya was developed to help meet the needs of many Zambians who do not have access to formal credit and are economically disadvantaged because they do not have collateral. Lupiya aims to level the playing field for all Zambians by offering low cost lending products and attainable options for security. In 2018, Evelyn founded Lupiya for Women, a non-profit financial support and inclusion platform, established as a subsidiary of Lupiya aimed at providing an opportunity for financing to women without financial assets to help support their small enterprises. The first loan package led to over 90 women micro-entrepreneurs accessing small loans and financial literacy products. Another byproduct of her startup yielded scheme loans with Employers of which Lupiya provides affordable short-term loans to low income employees.
Thabiso is a 32 year old Strategist, Cultural Economist, Policy Maker, Development Practitioner and Social Entrepreneur. He is co-founder of the IDIN-SADC Consortium, lead instructor/facilitator of the Injini EdTech Southern Africa Consortium in Botswana and creative consultant for DSIL Global for their impact work in Dubai with the Dubai government and IDEO. He is also co-founder and CEO of These Hands GSSE, a global for profit social enterprise based in Botswana which supports rural community innovators and entrepreneurs in developing countries. As an enabler for international development work, they have also developed a social media platform that is dedicated to international development and co-creative design work and does not require internet to use. They recently graduated from incubation at the Botswana Innovation Hub’s (BIH) First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC). These Hands GSSE is also an implementation partner and rural innovation center partner of the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab for Botswana, Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. These Hands GSSE is also an implementation partner of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) through its 1st university chapter; the Via Maranyane Student Organisation.
Jari has held different IT positions and roles since 2000, from architecture to team leading and scrum mastering. Currently, he mainly focuses on cloud technologies and how they help organizations and teams to fully utilize their potential in an agile way. Jari’s passion is to enable people to work together with modern technology and in a lean way towards common goals and visions.
Andrea is particularly interested in how digital technology can support people in their everyday life and he is passionate in using research techniques to focus on users and understand their needs when designing it. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher in Human-Computer Interaction at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and Aalto University, Finland. He received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Udine, Italy, where he worked in the HCI Lab.
Gladys Kivati is an inclusive business specialist at BoP Innovation Center. Gladys has over 8 years’ experience in proactively supporting businesses across the innovation cycle - from ideation and opportunity identification, to business plan development and implementing pilots. Gladys passion lies in using human centered design and other innovative approaches to generate, develop and scale-up new ideas that create lasting positive economic and social impact for entrepreneurs and their customers. Gladys is involved in supporting the SAIS 2 programme in the implementation of the unique Inclusive Innovation capacity building program that was designed by BoP Innovation Center, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) and VC4A.
Carolyne is a computer scientist and the founder of Apps and Girls, which is an award-winning social enterprise that invests in girls and young women as potential tech entrepreneurs, tech creators, tech role models, and leaders in Tanzania and across Sub-Saharan Africa, by implementing an innovative cyclical process of advanced coding training, entrepreneurship training, mentorship and incubation. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Information Systems from Kampala International University. Her work has been recognized both locally and internationally and she was awarded the Innovator of the Year 2018 Award by the Aid and International Development Forum and the Social Inclusion Award by Women In Tech. She is a collaborator of the Obama Foundation, mentor at First Global Robotics competition, Africa Entrepreneurship award and serves as the Africa Code Week Regional Ambassador. Carolyne believes that Tech is the reality of the future as we move deeper into the digital revolution and entrepreneurship is a driving force and therefore, she works to break various barriers that hinder girls and young women in ICT; such as a non-existent support system, lack of role models and prevailing gender stereotypes, by providing the alternative - a supportive path into the field of ICT and a future in tech.
Regi is a qualified teacher with a BED Hons in Computer-Based Education and one of the founders of Mashup NPO, which runs the Westbury Youth Centre in Johannesburg, providing holistic youth development services. In 2018 Regi was part of the three week International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) , which is the U.S Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme and in 2016 attended a Culinary and Pastry exchange programme in France for two weeks. Regi's entrepreneurial portfolio includes photography, co-owning the Furnace coffee shop in Melville and conducting storytelling workshops to address diversity issues. Regi also does educational, corporate and team building training.
Elizabeth John represents Dololo Operations, an entrepreneur and start-up incubation center. She holds an Honours degree in Business Management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology and an Advanced Diploma in Banking, Finance and Credit from the Namibia Institute of Bankers. She has experience in investments management and compliance and currently serves as the project assistant for Dololearn, a project which is piloting three aspects of the 'Future School' concept, namely, physical learning environments, pedagogy teaching methodology and E-learning.
Dr Benjamin Warr is a sustainability analyst and strategist. Benjamin trained as an environmental soil scientist (University of Reading) and geo-spatial analyst (Centre de Géostatistique, Fontainebleau). Benjamin worked for over 12 years at INSEAD Business School in France, researching ecological economics and sustainability innovations in business. Benjamin is Executive in Residence at the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre and Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University, Department of Soil Science. Benjamin started his career focused on what was then the very innovative use of geostatistics and hyperspectral (diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and remote sensing data) for mapping of soils.
Wame Raseonyana is a project beneficiary of the University-Industry-Government Co-creation Platform project. She is an Msc Computer Science student at the University of Botswana. Wame is active in STEM capacity building initiatives in the developer and innovation ecosystem community. She is the co-organizer of Women in Machine Learning & Data Science, Gaborone which aims to promote the participation of women and gender minorities in these areas. She is also a co-organizer of the PyData Chapter of Botswana which aims to build Data Science capacity in the country.
These projects are working to develop a better understanding of innovation ecosystems in the SADC region and aim to build capacity in Innovation Support Organisations to better serve their clients.
This project aims to pilot a biotech startup incubator, which will effectively integrate the variables needed to build sustainable biotech businesses.
The project aims to develop a universities centric co-creation platform with its associated activities centred on industry, government or stakeholder defined challenges solved by students, through well-defined mentored flagstone capstone projects.
This project involves the creation and usage of a digital open innovation platform that actively sources solutions to solve current and pressing problems in health, education, agriculture and tourism.
The project will support the manufacturing of innovative medical products, Additive Manufacturing (AM) of patient-specific implants and cutting/positioning guides through state of the art technology platforms.
These projects aim to help early-stage entrepreneurs validate, pilot and roll-out their concepts and prototypes on the market and strengthen Innovation Support Organisations abilities to support entrepreneurs in their role as orchestrators of activities within and across different ecosystems.
The Ntaka project will provide affordable soils advisory services to economically and environmentally challenged small scale farmers in Zambia.
The project aims to develop the EdTech ecosystem in Southern Africa to find grassroots ideas and turn them into early stage startups that are ready for incubation.
Southern Africa Startup Awards (SASA) is a registered non-profit organisation that hosts annual startup awards covering 15 SADC countries.
An e-learning system and virtual mentorship programme, to support technology driven impact ventures across the SADC region, to become investment ready, access capital and build new networks.
These projects develop a better understanding of technologies and methods facilitating collaborative development of innovations with socially and economically excluded communities.
Mashup Community Development, a social innovation hub, has created an economic inclusion ecosystem that provides both developmental training and start-up incubation to disadvantaged youth.
The project aims to pilot and validate the Future School concept and develop a model that can be scaled nationally and regionally.
The project aims to provide youth with critical skills they need to reach their full potential in the ICT sector.
The project aims to provide underprivileged young women in Tanzania, DRC and Kenya with the opportunity of accessing advanced IT & entrepreneurship training.