KZN Regional Manager
Thuba Sibisi is an entrepreneurship advocate who advocates for entrepreneurship as a mindset and as a career of choice considering her belief that entrepreneurship is a catalyst for change and a solution to some, if not all our problems globally but more especially in our country e.g. high unemployment, poverty and slow economic growth.
She is currently the Black Umbrellas’ Regional Manager, KwaZulu Natal. She has over 23 years working experience largely in the financial services sector and with SMEs. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Higher Diploma in Marketing Management, a Certificate in Banking and other various certificates. She has spoken at various events and radio stations about entrepreneurship.
She regards the success of SMEs that she has been able to directly and or indirectly support through coaching, procurement opportunities, assistance with access to funding, sharing information and or knowledge etc.; as her highest achievement because it has enabled SME growth, job creation, poverty alleviation and it allows her to live her personal value which is: Adding value to other people’s lives.
Head of Africa
LinkedIn Talent Solutions
He currently leads the expansion of LinkedIn's Talent Solutions business across large enterprise, mid-market & high growth segments in Sub-Saharan Africa.,
Based out of LinkedIn's International Headquarters in Dublin, Ireland his team operate a fly-in-fly out model to manage their rapidly growing customer base in the region.
LinkedIn's rich ecosystem powers a holistic and people-centric talent strategy:
1. The world’s most dynamic professional community - engage members on a deeper level to help them find jobs and learn critical skills.
2. Intelligent matching to make hiring and skill building more impactful and efficient.
3. Macro and personalized insights to help you plan your talent strategy and stay one step ahead of your business needs.
It’s through these capabilities they've been able to develop the world's leading solutions to help hiring, support people's learning and development, and access talent market insights to help stay one step ahead.
And because embracing the new dimensions of work are imperative to a successful talent strategy, Matthew and his team are investing in capabilities across they're solutions to support top priorities like DEI, skills-first hiring, internal mobility, leadership development and hybrid work to ensure people are put at the center of company strategies as they hire for today and build for tomorrow.
Chief Executive Officer
Mineworkers Investment Company
Mary joined the MIC in 2010 and previously served as a Non-Executive Director from March 2008 to 2010.
Before joining the MIC, Mary was the Chief Financial Officer at Freight Dynamics. Prior to this, she was an executive in the Corporate Services division of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Mary has also held executive positions in the resources, media, utilities and financial services sectors.
She serves on the boards of a number of the company’s strategic investments. These include: Primedia, Metrofile Holdings Ltd, and DN Invest (DNI). Mary also serves as a Non- Executive Director on the Kumba Iron Ore board.
Dr. Justin Visagie
Senior Research Specialist
Human Sciences Research Council
His current focus is on urban economics, development economics and applied microeconomic research. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Free State supporting the NRF Chair in City-region Economies. He was previously Director of Economic Planning, Policy and Research in the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the Eastern Cape.
He completed his PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he won the prestigious Founders' medal from the Economic Society of South Africa for his thesis on the development of the middle class in South Africa. Dr Visagie has expertise in microeconomic data analysis and has worked on a wide-array of cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets. His recent research projects have involved spatial administrative data mining, regional industrial policy, city-region economies, tradable services, spatial inequality, social mobility, urbanization, housing and migration.
Director: Sector and Local Innovation
Department of Science and Technology
Sunita is an admitted attorney with a BSc LLB from Wits University and She has just over 20 years of experience in the national system of innovation, in various roles at a number of institutions, including the Water Research Commission, Deloitte Consulting, the CSIR and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). She has experience as an IP attorney, and expertise in intellectual property and innovation management. She also has extensive exposure in support for enterprise development.
She has been the Director of the Sector and Local Innovation Directorate at the DSI for about 8 years and manages a portfolio that focuses on building science, technology and innovation (STI) capabilities in the areas of
(1) development of industry innovation partnerships to support competiveness of relevant sectors of the economy; and
(2) guiding and supporting regional innovation programmes and activities at subnational levels.
She is instrumental in managing key initiatives aimed at incentivising increased private sector investment into research, development and innovation (RDI), and providing technology development support through industry development centres in strategic sectors. These initiatives are part of the DSI’s innovation driven industrial development portfolio. In addition, her portfolio includes supporting innovation enabling mechanisms at subnational level, aimed at increasing the spatial footprint of innovation, through multi-helix partnerships.
Chief Executive Officer
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.
Head of Experimentation
United Nations Development Programme
Over the last 13 years Klariska has been involved in the areas of product development, sustainability, research and innovation, national development, and project/product management. She currently serves as the Head of Experimentation at the United Nations Development Programme, where she leads the identification, piloting and scaling of innovative solutions that accelerate progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). She also served as Manager for Systems Product Development at Nedbank where she played the role of product owner on an agile digital disruption programme.
Klariska previously served as a senior engineer and project manager at the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) where she was involved in the development of micro-reactors, sensors, and paper re-engineering.
Klariska holds a Masters of Technology in Chemical Engineering (cum laude) from the University of Johannesburg. Her training also includes Sustainable Business Strategy (Harvard Business School), Product Management (Oxford University), Agile Product Owner (Think Agile), Design thinking (Duke Corporate Education), Root Cause Analysis (Thinking Dimensions) and Entrepreneurship for Innovators (Kio Group).
The Business Development Agency
Pearl Maphumulo is a young South African entrepreneur and managing director at The Business Development Agency (Pty) Ltd, a consulting agency that designs and implements various business solutions that help clients in achieving their strategic goals and objectives. The agency has a proven track record of assisting businesses, the public sector, and development organizations in implementing cost-effective solutions to their challenges.
She was a 2015 nominee at the African Achievers Awards under the category Excellence in Leadership; a business/ entrepreneurship column contributor for numerous national and regional publications and facilitator for a number of international dialogues and workshops. She currently serves as President of The Africa80 Foundation NPC and as board member on a government owned economic development agency.
Founder & Director
Open Cities Lab
Richard is the founder of Open Cities Lab, a civic technology lab with a focus on the development of open data for application to urban challenges operating within cities in Africa.
He is also the CEO and co-founder of Tenji, a data science startup with a focus on building data products and tools that aid socioeconomic development and planning.
He is an entrepreneur with a dedication to the advancement of African communities through dynamic solutions and tools, hoping to empower socio-economic development and to affect social change. He has a deep interest in openness and transparency in society. When he finds spare time he grows his beard, brews beer, appreciates good coffee, and likes to tell people he listens to vinyl.
Dr. Xolisa Maleman, PhD
Portfolio Manager: Commercialization in Agriculture Business Unit
Technology Innovation Agency
Her expertise includes creation of biotechnology start-up companies that focus on development and commercialization of new intellectual property, investment management and investment exits.
She holds a PhD in Biotechnology from Rhodes University since 2007. In the same year she conducted post-doctoral studies in plant biotechnology at University of the Western Cape.
In 2008 she joined PlantBio Trust, one of the biotechnology research and innovation centers (BRICS) or precursor companies for TIA which was formed in 2010 under the TIA Act of 2008 by the Department of Science and Innovation. She had previously worked as a Biochemistry Lecturer at the University of Fort Hare. Her post graduate research focused on bioremediation of acid mine drainage and was part of the research group that developed the patented Rhodes BioSURE process. For her well published doctoral studies (11 journal articles) she focused on bioremediation of winery wastewaters using membrane technology and sulfidogenic bioreactors.
Dr. Gnanam (Poppet) Pillay
Director: DUT Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Rapid Incubator
Durban University of Technology
Dr Poppet Pillay is the Director of the DUT-Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Rapid Incubator (DUT-CSERI) that she established at the Durban University of Technology in 2015. The DUT- CSERI develops and supports student and community enterprises through a range of interventions that include workshops, mentorship and coaching, and site visits. Some of the Key programmes offered by DUT-CSERI include the Business Start-Up programme in partnership with Viridian/Launch League UK; Business Incubation and the Localization with SEDA STP and the Cataler SA ESD Advanced programme with CatalerSA. In December 2018, the Centre won the South African Business Incubation Conference (SABIC) 1st runner-up in Pretoria and in December 2019 the Centre won the DUT Chancellor’s Award for Innovation and Excellence. Poppet served as the DHET NationalConvener for Communities of Practice: Entrepreneurial Universities from 2016 until 2020 where she was involved in driving the National Baseline Research in Entrepreneurial Universities that was launched in February 2020. Poppet was appointed as one of the Directors for the new Durban Textile and Leather Incubator In Durban. She has presented academic papers internationally and has contributed chapters and on social entrepreneurship in two published academic books.
Programme Manager: Innovation
Economic Research, Strategy & Innovation
Ethekwini Municipality: Economic
Justice believes that for Africa to truly realise its potential, it needs an African business framework that prioritises greater integration of African business markets, embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is underpinned by a core focus on youth skills and entrepreneurship.
He is an Alumni of the USA Department of States' International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP), under the theme "Strategic and Economic Priorities for the Indian Ocean Region". Has led the #OpenAfrica initiative, an African Global Shaper Hub programme that advocates for business activities and policy initiatives that boost Intra-Africa Trade.
He has worked as a Manager for Policy and Advocacy at the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry overseeing 16 industry sector forums. Through his work at the Durban Chamber he has contributed to the introduction and amendments of numerous Acts, Bills, Policies and Municipal By-Laws. He has also consulted for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in creating Intellectual Property Business Valuation Models where he contributed to the commercialization of numerous technologies into the South African market. Currently at Ethekwini Municipality, Justice led the Shape Durban - Inclusive Economic Development Strategy 2020-25, and is currently working as a Programme Manager for Innovation.
Justice has received awards on his peer reviewed published academic journal papers focusing on South African Financial Markets while studying at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He is also an Ambassador for Brand South Africa (Play Your Part), an Advisory Board member of the African Ports and Rail Evolution Forum, and Former Curator for the Global Shapers Community Durban Hub.
Vice President & Country MD
Software AG South Africa
Kholiwe has more than 23 years’ experience in both Public and Private Sectors. She has extensive experience in the various industries having worked as an Auditor, CFO, Consulting and Sales Director etc.
She is currently VP and Country MD of Software AG SA and is a board member. Makhohliso, formerly the Country Managing Director of Oracle South Africa and prior to that she held various Senior Management roles at Accenture.
A Harvard Alumni board member and a Bachelor of Accounting Science graduate, Kholiwe completed executive and leadership programs at leading institutions both locally and abroad. She completed Program for Leadership Development (PLD) at Harvard Business School, Global Executive Development Programme (GEDP) with Gordon’s Institute of Business Sciences (GIBS), South Africa and the 4sight Leadership Programme, a joint program with Cranfield Business School, UK and IESE Business School, Spain.
Senior Research Advisor
eThekwini Municipality: Economic Development Unit
Tshegang also heads up the City’s Economic Research Programme (The Durban EDGE). In her time at eThekwini Municipality, Ms Chipeya has been responsible for co-conceptualising the country’s first interactive city open data portal, The Durban EDGE Open Data Portal, which focusses on economic data and intelligence for the growth of Durban’s economy.
Together with the general lead of economic research in the City, Chipeya manages all content and data on the open data portal, as well as the communication of its data for better informed economic decision making. She has been responsible for the production and delivery of the State of the Economy overview, (regularly presented to public and private sector), and various EDGE publications on Durban’s economy, as well as research of recent events in Durban’s economy; such as Covid19 lockdowns, the July 2021 Unrest and April 2022 flooding etc.
Before her tenure at eThekwini, Chipeya worked as a private sector economist. Chipeya holds a BSoc Sci in Economics and an MPhil in Development Finance (cum laude) from Stellenbosch USB.
Nonceba currently manages an all-women accelerator programme, GrindstoneX, in partnership with Naspers Labs. With experience in the entrepreneurship ecosystem support, she has led multiple projects within the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs where she was the South African project lead developing the landscape mapping of the Township Economies in South Africa Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Snapshot (2021) and the Durban Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Snapshot with a focus on innovation (2019). Both are an online resource tools that help entrepreneurs identify organisations supporting various stages of development through financial and non-financial support mechanisms.
Nonceba has a deep passion for creating inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem environments, particularly in strengthening township economies and addressing the gender gap. Nonceba has gained experience partnering with organisations such as the British Council, Social Value UK and Allan Gray Orbis Foundation developing global and regional Impact Measurement and Management Learning Labs and resources. Nonceba has facilitated a series of Learning Labs exploring the importance of understanding impact in context, engaging multiple stakeholders and gender impact measurement practices.
Related to impact measurement, Nonceba also co-authored a chapter of Generation Impact: International Perspectives on Impact Accounting. She has also gained knowledge and experience within the SADC banking sector, having worked with the Banking Association of South Africa and assisted in the establishment of the SA banking industry-supported Centre of Excellence in Financial Services.