Watch 36 Thinkubate graduates pitch at the Innovation Bridge IBP500 event

The revamped Innovation Bridge Portal (IBP) and Entrepreneur Community was launched in May 2022 as a digital regional entrepreneurship community aimed at assisting underserved entrepreneurs by facilitating access to relevant business support services and by increasing their opportunities to access early-stage finance, markets, and innovation. 

To date, through a combined initiative in collaboration with the World Bank mentoring programme and Thinkroom’s Thinkubate programme, the IBP has successfully taken three cohorts of a total of 115 entrepreneurs through a pitch-readiness and mentoring programme. This programme focused on ensuring that these entrepreneurs, from various sectors, were pitch-ready while also assisting them in addressing their top two business gaps or challenges. 

The first cohort of entrepreneurs completed the programme in 2022 and pitched their businesses during the launch of the IBP Portal event that was held at the CSIR building in Pretoria in May 2022. 

The second and third cohorts of entrepreneurs have now completed the programme which was made up of a number of online learning modules on Thinkroom’s training programme; Thinkubate as well as practical support and intense one-on-one mentoring sessions from the exceptional Thinkroom mentors and other industry experts. 

Thirty-six of these entrepreneurs will now showcase their ventures through a series of hybrid pitch events that will be taking place between 9 – 12 May 2023. The aim of these pitch events is to showcase the talent of these hard-working entrepreneurs and to also provide access to potential markets and funding opportunities. The winning pitch will be selected per country and the winners will each receive a prize. 

Download the official invitation here. 

Click here to register to watch online.

The 36 entrepreneurs will each pitch in-person at a venue (either the World Bank offices or the partner company’s office) in their respective countries, while the other entrepreneurs will join online to watch the other pitch events. The pitches will be judged by a team of judges both online and in person at the country venues.  

Click here to register to watch online.

Please join us as we celebrate the vast entrepreneurial talent across Southern Africa through the five hybrid events listed below: 

 

Details of each event

Tuesday, 9th May: Namibia (09:00 – 12:00)

Wednesday, 10th May: Eswatini (09:00 – 12:00)

Thursday, 11th May: Lesotho (09:00 – 12:00)

Friday, 12th May: Botswana (09:00 – 12:00)

Friday, 12th May: South Africa (13:00 – 16:00)

 

Each event will be between 2 and 3 hours. 

 

The programme outline will be as follows:

  • Introduction                                              
  • Opening remarks                                         
  • Overview of IBP and Thinkubate              
  • An Entrepreneur’s Journey                         
  • Pitches                                                           
  • Feedback from Judges                              
  • Closing remarks                                          

 

The Innovation Bridge Portal (IBP) event is hosted by the Department of Science & Innovation, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Small Business Development South Africa (DSBD), and is held in partnership with the World Bank Group, Thinkroom and national counterparts in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, South Africa, and Namibia. 

Click here to register to watch online.

 

Meet the start-ups: 

Namibia:

Moonsnacks Investment cc.

Moonsnacks Investment cc, founded by Bruno Nghimwena, is a snack company based in Windhoek, Namibia. Groundnuts are one of the few crops that are able to abundantly grow in Namibia’s dry climate.  As a result, a lot of small scale and large scale farmers grow huge groundnut crops every year. Most of the big scale farmers export their produce to South Africa, while produce from small scale farmers mostly ends up being sold locally on the informal market, with little to no value addition. Bruno and his partner have added value to groundnut sourced locally from small farmers, to produce our delicious and crunchy peanut burger snacks. 

Moonsnacks’ main target customers are groundnut lovers, and consumers on the go who just want to get a quick bite, hassle free. The product is made available to customers at road intersections, bus and taxi stops, corner shops, market places, and school tuck shops. Their first product has generated great responses and demand from the public. Next year, they are hoping to source funding of about N$350,000 through grants and equity giveaways, to help grow their team of 3 to 15 employees, make the peanut burgers available nationwide and start to work closely with small farmers to help them increase their groundnut quality and yield. 

TN African Retail and Investments

Theresia Nangolo started TN African retail and investments three years ago and is looking to expand to other territories and markets in Namibia. TN African Retail and Investments is a company offering a wide range of baked goods to retail stores. The business is looking to expand in an attempt to be able to agriculturally supply their own ingredients in a sustainable way. 

SUNCO Investments 

SUNCO investments Namibia cc, owned by Sonny Okala. SUNCO is a consultancy SME company with a mission to advance the  frontiers of Namibia in the areas of project management consultation, information technology research services, marine services as well as health and safety services. Sonny will be pitching his business at the Innovation Bridge Portal pitching events from 9 – 12 May 2023. 

Henuka Agriculture

Located in Namibia, Henuka Agriculture is a food growing business that produces fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cabbages, watermelons, sweet potatoes, butternuts, green pepper, carrots, and more. Started by Gabriel Shilongo, the business is looking to expand into growing maize which will be processed as maize meal in the near future. 

Vaibe Media

Vaibe Media is a drone service provider start-up that is taking advantage of powerful cameras, sensors and mobility of drones to inspect and collect data for agricultural purposes. The start-up was established in 2020 by Vaino Eshumba, in Omusati Region, Namibia. 

Sondaha Nuuyuni Sales and Marketing Agency CC

Sondana Nuuyuni sales and marketing agency trains promotion personnel and assists Namibian-produced products to get listed in different outlets, while at the same time conceptualising and implementing roadshows, promotions and marketing activations. 

 

Eswatini 

Kimono Shop Eswatini

Kimono Shop Eswatini makes beautiful and affordable kimonos for women for every season and occasion, owned by Nkosingiphile Nonkhanyiso Simelane. Nkosingiphile is looking to expand her business and will be pitching at the IBP 500 pitch events from 9 – 12 May 2023. 

Healinghands

Healinghands’ owner, Bianca Litchfield’s mission is to end chronic disease in Africa by providing high quality herbal products, proper nutrition training and coaching.

Barns investments (Pty) Ltd

Led by Banele Mdluli, Barns investments (Pty) Ltd is an agri-tech, green tech start-up that is working towards green-fuel alternatives through the production of biodiesel from recycled cooking oil conversion and extraction of plant oils from locally identified alien / invasive species (harvesting for Biodiesel production).

Agri-Fresh investments

As an Agri-tech start-up, Agri-Fresh investments specialises in agriculture farming and operates in Mbabane, Eswatini and is run by Lindiwe Mncina. 

Sanitize Eswatini 

Sanitize Eswatini offers water quality assessment services and is owned by Beished Majahonkhe Shabangu.  

Jonathan Cyber 

Jonathan Investments  (Pty) Ltd, trading As Jonathan Cyber, is a start-up currently in its development phase. The services offered are cyber security services of all kinds ranging from cyber security awareness training, cyber security advisory, security assessments, security controls and cyber forensics. Jonathan Cyber will be pitching in the hopes of securing legal advice and marketing assistance. 

iMatrix

Owned by Mzamane Mndzebele, iMatrix is a Renewable Energy/ Agriculture/Agri-tech company that specialises in solar electricity system design, installation and maintenance services in Eswatini.

The Waffle Palace

The Waffle Palace, run by Ndaya Lukoji, is Eswatini’s first ever waffle specialist offering a tasty, unique, quirky waffle experience. They are pitching in the hopes of gaining funding and assistance with structural management. 

High Purpose Investments (Pty) Ltd.

High Purpose Investments (Pty) Ltd. is an Agri-tech business, producing vegetables for local and international markets.  Siphamandla Mfanzile Mamba, who owns the business, is looking to expand into high value crop production done in a protected environment, i.e. tunnel technology and greenhouse farming. 

Click here to register to watch online.

 

Lesotho

Legacy Brands

Founded by Likengken Philadel Ntsaba, Legacy Brands is an Agri-tech, Food-tech business that preserves fruit and vegetables through drying and canning, with the objective of muesli production for retail. 

Enrooler Home Services 

Enrooler Home Service provides professional home services to customers in Lesotho including home and garden services.

Tethics Incorporated

TETHICS Inc, founded by Tumelo Masasa, is a cybersecurity company registered and operating in Lesotho. The company provides cybersecurity and information security services for organisations in Lesotho, with consideration to expanding its footprint globally. The company provides network penetration testing, web application penetration testing, mobile application penetration testing, cybersecurity awareness training, cybersecurity education, cybersecurity incident response training, information security controls auditing, information security policies consultancy, computer forensic investigation, security product implementation and organisational security management. Tumelo will be pitching his business at the 2023 IBP 500 pitching event. 

Rare Disease Lesotho Association 

Rare Diseases Lesotho Association, founded by Ntabeleng Ramoeli,  is a non-profit organisation registered in October 2017. The organisation assists all patients affected by rare diseases to access treatment and support care for improved health and quality  of life. The intention is to facilitate and support advocacy and engagement between those with  the ability to prevent, inter, treat and provide support care for patients and families affected by  chronic and rare diseases in Lesotho. A rare disease is considered rare when it affects 1 person in a population group of 2000 people.  Although rare and genetic diseases have many symptoms and are uncommon to most doctors,  rare diseases as a whole represent a large medical challenge, individually rare but collectively common. Rare diseases are life threatening and chronically debilitating conditions which are  uncommon and require special combined efforts to address them. 

Kingdom Diagnostics

Kingdom Diagnostics is a multipurpose company currently focused on the supply of health and laboratory equipment and services, founded by Limpho Lepheana operating out of Lesotho. 

Girls Coding Academy 

Girls Coding Academy is an organisation that seeks to equip children with basic computer skills, coding, robotics, 3D printing and other STEM/computer science concepts to enable them to engage experimentally in application development. This start-up was founded by Maneo Mapharisa in Lesotho and will be pitching in this year’s IBP 500 pitching event

KT Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd

KT Business Solutions is a hospitality start-up that offers a 3-star graded accommodation establishment that is easily accessible, comfortable, affordable  and within the Maseru CBD area. This business was established by Khauhelo Ramakongoana. 

 

Botswana

Skin Free Soaps 

Skin free soaps champion the manufacturing of natural and organic personal care products and shift the way people think about nature preservation and how they can reduce the impact of climate change. This environmentally conscious business is owned by Atamelang Samantha Free and is based in Botswana. 

GCMP Security

GCMP security doesn’t want anyone to feel alone and afraid, whether they have fallen ill or been attacked. GCMP makes smart watches that allow them to respond to users in any emergency. This innovative business was established by Didinlte who will be pitching at the IBP pitching event from 9 – 12 May 2023. 

First-Aid Counselling 

First-Aid Counselling offers digital platforms that help users access mental health services instantly and anonymously, from any mobile device,  any time, anywhere and at the lowest rates. Started by Kesego Mosime and based in Botswana, this business will be pitching at the IBP 500 event in the hopes of securing funding and strategic partnerships with mobile network operators. 

The Popsicle Company 

The Popsicle Company is a gourmet ice cream company, specialising in alcoholic infused and non-alcoholic popsicles. They are based in Gaborone, Botswana but are looking to scale up into Zimbabwe and South Africa. The Popsicle Company, “Your favourite childhood treat but all grown up 😉”. This trendy business was started by Ratidzo Murwisi, who will be pitching for strategic partnerships and in the hopes of gaining funding in order to scale. 

Aclusion 

Aclusion is a tech-based start-up founded in November 2021 in Gaborone with a mission to disrupt the status quo by primarily focusing on using financial technology, blockchain, big data and AI to improve the standard of living of marginalised individuals in Botswana. Tumisang Swabi, founder and owner of Aclusion.

Caprino Farms (Pty) Ltd

Caprino Farms (Pty) Ltd, owned by Tshwaane Alfred Matlou, is a small stock farming enterprise that mainly deals with the rearing of goats and sheep primarily for meat supply. Caprino Farms then ventured into large scale commercial and intensive small stock production as there was a need identified for the adequate supply of lamb, mutton and chevon.

Mohiri 

Mohiri is a service that sends customers an alert whenever there is a job in their area that matches their skills. Mohiri eliminates the ‘search’ in job searching, so that candidates can instead focus on applying. Mohiri uses artificial intelligence to aggregate job data on the internet and then intelligently matches that data to users registered on our platform. 

The cost of subscribing to Mohiri is less than that of purchasing a newspaper, and users can pay through card or airtime. Mohiri has 40,000 registered users and plans to expand to Zambia and SA by the end of 2022. 

 

South Africa

Womxn Beauty (Pty) Ltd 

Womxn Beauty (Pty) Ltd is a profit-for-impact beauty brand that creates cruelty-free and paraben-free makeup products for all womxn and skin tones. Their goal is to design products that make their community more confident in their skin and empower womxn by making beauty more accessible to all. Womxn Beauty, owned and run by Ruvimbo Zawu, is designed and formulated in Johannesburg South Africa and using ethically sourced ingredients that are expertly crafted to match all womxn’s beauty needs.

Khangezile Group 

Khangezile Group provides construction services to small and medium sized companies. Our services include refurbishment, painting, general building and maintenance. Sandiswa and Njabulo, owners of this start-up, will be pitching at this year’s IBP 500 pitching event this May. 

Khwezi Innovations 

Khwezi Innovations, founded by Nonhlanhla Cynthia Mholngo, is a company that works on cultivating innovative ideas that solve people’s daily life struggles. At Khwezi Innovations, we believe that the era we are living in allows us not only to dream, but to invent and equip ourselves so that we are fit and ready for the approaching 4th Industrial revolution. 

Farmru 

Farmru is an agri-tech system to assist rural farmers to save water and maintain optimal soil quality to produce healthy crops. This innovative start-up was founded by Tsedzuluso Netshimbupfe who will be pitching at the IBP 500 pitching event in the search for financing and connections within the ecosystem.

Busani Solutions Group (Pty) Ltd 

Based in South Africa and founded by Nkululeko Mahlangu, Busani Solutions Group is a clothing and textiles apparel manufacturing firm, our main focus markets are retail clothing, school uniforms and healthcare textiles. 

Torho Technologies (iTorho) 

 iTorho, founded in 2018 by Njabulo Khulu, understands the great opportunity afforded by E-commerce, which is why they take pride in their innovative mobile marketplace. Serving South Africa, iTorho is leveraging new technologies like AI, big data analytics, and geotagging to disrupt the classifieds industry and facilitate the building of new relationships.

 

Meet the judges: 

Online Judge: 

Grace Legodi: 

Grace Legodi is an all-round investment professional with 10+ years’ experience working with international financial institutions and start-ups/SMEs in Southern Africa and the United States. She is the Southern Africa Investment Officer for Untapped Global, a revenue-based asset financing firm to start-ups across Africa. She also serves on the investment committee/board of directors of various ventures focused on early-stage financial services, green economy and property tech sectors.

She most recently consulted to The World Bank Group, helping them execute on Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development in Southern Africa. Prior to this, she gained experience in start-up acceleration and early stage investing from the private sector at Grindstone (South Africa based) as Africa Director and at Plug and Play Tech Centre as South Africa Director, Country Manager (California based). She has work experience in Investment Banking and Gender-lens Impact investing. This experience was gained over 10 years, five years of which was spent working at Goldman Sachs based in New York and Johannesburg. She was on the Ambassador Board of Launch with GS, Goldman Sachs’ first for-profit initiative to invest in diverse, women-founded, owned and/or -led businesses in the U.S.

She holds a Bachelor Business Science, Finance (Honours) Degree from the University of Cape Town and a Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris (Summa Cum Laude)

In-person Judges

Namibia: 

Gerold Dreyer

Gerold is a seasoned pan-African start-up ecosystem builder. His work spans the Namibian, Zambian, Malawian and Botswana start-up ecosystems. In conjunction with innovation enablers, he has implemented various initiatives such as incubation/acceleration programmes, community events and policy dialogues to address regulatory bottlenecks. His current role at the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) focuses on capacity building and the facilitation of market access for MSMEs to scale their operations within and outside the country, with a special focus on the European market. 

Beatrice Schultz 

Beatrice Schultz is an intrapreneur with a deep love for seeing people grow and thrive, and an uncanny flair for training entrepreneurs. Beatrice has an Honours degree in Media, specialising in Public Relations and Visual Arts.

As the organiser of TEDx Vineta Women, Beatrice is also the first TEDx woman in Namibia in almost 40 years of TED history. TEDx Vineta Women’s goal is to help move the conversation about the power of girls and women and bring about much-needed change.

Beatrice sits on the Project Steering Committee of Trade Forward Southern Africa (TFSA); a program designed to alleviate poverty across the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique (SACU+M) by increasing the scale and quality of trade within the union and with the UK. Under TFSA, she has trained three cohorts of entrepreneurs to equip them with the knowledge needed to successfully trade their goods.

In addition to that, she is also the Personal brand executive for Talent and Truth, a Dubai-based agency where she builds the personal brands of CEOs and founders as a ghostwriter on LinkedIn.

Etuna Hango

 

Etuna Hango is an investment professional with a burning passion for developing Namibia and Africa at large by finding innovative financing solutions to direct capital to high-impact projects. He has experience in infrastructure, agriculture, and SME finance from work in private equity. His educational background is in commerce with a core focus on finance, investments, and economics. Etuna is also enrolled as part of the 2023 cohort that is pursuing a Master of Commerce in Development Finance at the UCT Graduate School of Business which he believes will broaden his understanding of the challenges we face on the continent and better equip him to achieve his impact-related goals.

Eswatini: 

 Nelson Tsabedze

 

Nelson Tsabedze is an Entrepreneur and a Legal & Business Consultant. He is the Founder and Lead Consultant at NMT Consulting (Pty) Ltd, Eswatini’s leading Legal & Business Transaction Advisory Consultancy. Nelson is responsible for Tax Law Advisory, Construction Contracts Development, Operations Management Advisory, Business Planning and Business Strategy Development. 

Through the Consultancy’s BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) service suite, Nelson works with various start-up businesses where he assists with business planning, business process design, operations management, risk management, legal management and HR support services among others. Nelson is very passionate about assisting start-ups, in particular the youth; with entrepreneurship development, accessing capital and capacitating them for business operations. That is the passion which inspired him to establish NMT Consulting and to focus on the BPO suite, which is more SME focused.

 

Mandlenkhosi Dlamini

Mandlenkosi Ignatius Dlamini started his career with Swaziland Government, Treasury 1984 and served till 1990 attached to the Min of Works as Assistant Accountant. While in Government he enrolled for a Diploma in Business studies with UNISWA. He then joined PWC where he served from 1991 to 1994. Qualified with AAT Final level in December 1991 and was admitted a member (MAAT). He then spread his wings and joined Usutu Pulp Company Limited (SAPPI) as Mill Accountant. He was promoted to Cost Accountant for Mill & Forests operations. His ascent continued as in 1997 when he was promoted to Management Accountant, a position he served for five years before assuming another position of Financial Accountant for another five years. Whilst at SAPPI he enrolled for CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting.

Mandlenkosi quit his management job at SAPPI in 2006 and went on to setup Sdudla Engineering in 2007; a company specialising in construction (Structural Steelwork). Sdudla operates in Matsapa Industrial sites Lot 882. The company moved to its own premises in 2017 and has been operating from there till this day.

 

 

Botswana: 

Ms Onneetse Ndadi

 

Ms Onneetse Ndadi is an entrepreneurship, green economy and sustainability management  development expert. Ms Ndadi is qualified in entrepreneurship development, climate and SME financing, strategy, economics, accounting, risk management, circular economy and ESG/sustainability management (including reporting).

With over 15 years industry experience, Ms Ndadi has worked in various sectors from academia, public to non-governmental to private sectors. She has experience in the areas of accounting and finance, multilateral project management, investments and fund management, academia, business development, business  incubation and sustainability management. She is a lecturer of entrepreneurship and business management at the University of Botswana, where she also manages the university’s business incubator. Ms Ndadi is a practising private sector development expert who has supported both local and international sponsored development projects. She has worked on assignments for the UNDP Botswana Supplier Development Programme, SEED Entreprenuership programme and UNIDO ITPO Italy where she served as National Expert for Botswana driving investment promotion and private sector development for the energy and environment sectors in Botswana. She has also worked on private sector commissioned research projects such as the Collaborative Regional Development Framework which informs the socio-economic development strategy for one of the mining companies. Ms Ndadi is the “Business Teacher” in the Setswana Entreprenuership master  classes offered by TheNeoHub for the Debswana Entreprenuership & Entreprise Development programmes. 

Gabriel Mothibedi

Founder, Chief Executive, Chief Designer and Product Engineer at Nako Timepieces — Gabriel Motshidisi Mothibedi is a Doctoral Researcher, specializing in Design Innovation Policy. His research focuses on the application of strategic design on the development of National Design Innovation Policies for industrial development and global competitiveness through the transformation of national design capacities and the support of SMEs. This entails the application of strategic design to help governments transform their economic growth strategies into support programmes and actions for resource management and value addition through design.

 

Lesotho

John Matlosa

John Matlosa is an Entrepreneur and an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builder.  John is the Country Managing Director of GEN Lesotho an Affiliate of Global Entrepreneurship Network which is a non-profit organization operating programs in 200 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. It achieves this by fostering deeper cross-border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN fuels healthier start and scale ecosystems that create more jobs, provide education, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth.

Mr Matlosa has experience in Strategic Management, Business Incubation, Executive Coaching, Audit Assurance Services, Financial Management and Leadership Development. He is an entrepreneur with establishments in Sanitation, Waste Management and Hospitality. He is an experienced Board member and Chairperson of several organizations which include a  Bank  and International NGO’s. He has over 15 years held executive roles in utilities; Electricity, Water and Telecommunications utilities where he led various functions which included Audit & Risk, Corporate Strategy, Sales & Distribution.

John holds an Honours Degree in Accounting, A Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Ntsepeng Tsita Tikiso

Ntsepeng Tsita Tikiso is the Founding Partner and CEO of BAM Group of Companies (which started in 2005). BAM Group owns BAM Consultancy (for ICT Solutions), BAM Promotions (for Marketing & Events), and BAM Media (which also owns and publishes Informative Newspaper, FINITE & Achiever Magazines). With her twin, through their brand TwinTalk, they authored a book Distinguish or Extinguish Yourself, and are also EQ trainers and motivational speakers.

Ntsepeng is the host of BAM TV Show ‘FINITE Women Empowerment’ that airs every Friday at 8.30pm on LTV, DSTV 292 and aims to encourage entrepreneurship by showcasing the journeys of women start-ups and SMEs in Lesotho.

She holds various positions in the ecosystem that contribute to building the private sector. In academia she’s the Chairperson of Limkokwing Industry Advisory Panel and also a member of the Public Procurement Tribunal representing private sector.

Ntsepeng is a seasoned Business Development Service Provider and a member of GEN Lesotho chapter. She is a Chair of BAM Group Foundation (which is a member of AfriLabs), the philanthropic arm of BAM Group that provides Incubation and Accelerator programs to start-ups and MSMEs. BAM Group Foundation has since 2012 been holding annual FINITE Magazine Women Appreciation Awards that recognises outstanding women in the country though various categories.

Ntsepeng holds a Masters degree in Business Administration and a BSc degree in Computer Science and Statistics. She applies deliberate focus on opportunities for Basotho and Lesotho through different platforms.

South Africa

Amé Lazaridis 

Senior international development, social enterprise, and impact investment strategist and practitioner with diverse international experience working within multicultural teams within the public and private sectors. She has extensive networks in academia, corporate, incubation and acceleration, impact investment, and the social enterprise ecosystem in Africa and Europe.

Amanda Lotheringen

Amanda Lotheringen joined the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) in 1993 and is currently Senior Manager, Copyright and IP Enforcement, at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). In 1999 she took responsibility for the implementation of the Counterfeit Goods Act, No. 37 of 1997, and oversaw the declaration of the first counterfeit goods depot. She was also involved in the training of law enforcement officials across government departments to implement that Act. Ms. Lotheringen was nominated as Vice-Chair at the first meeting of WIPO’s Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) held in Geneva in 2003 and also chaired the ACE in 2015 and 2016. She holds a degree from the Rand Afrikaans University in Development Economics and an Honors degree in Economics.

Charles Nyabeze

Charles holds a Bachelor of Mining Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). He is the Vice President of Business Development and Commercialization at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI). In this role, Charles focuses on creating long-term value for organizations and clients by identifying business development opportunities within the public and private sectors.

Specifically, Charles leads the Commercialisation Support Services division at CEMI, where he recognises and secures opportunities that help clients bridge the gap in commercialising new technologies within the mining industry. Additionally, he develops proposals, establishes global partnerships, and collaborates with various entities to drive program and project initiatives.

Moreover, Charles actively contributes to the advancement of the overall strategic objectives of the organization. He spearheads CEMI’s efforts in delivering Commercialization Support Services for the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network. Through his leadership, Charles ensures that the commercialization process is effectively supported and facilitates the successful integration of innovative technologies into the mining value stream.

 

Our partners and co-hosts

South Africa: Department of Science and Innovation/Department of Small Business Development (SA), CSIR

CSIR

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contributes to the improved quality of life of South Africans.

The CSIR’s shareholder is the South African Parliament, held in proxy by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is a leading scientific and technology research organisation that researches, develops, localises and diffuses technologies to accelerate socio economic prosperity in South Africa. The organisation’s work contributes to industrial development and supports a capable state.

The CSIR was established through an Act of Parliament in 1945 and the organisation’s executive authority is the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

The organisation plays a key role in supporting public and private sectors through directed research that is aligned with the country’s priorities, the organisation’s mandate and its science, engineering and technology competences.

Impact is at the core of our business and the following objectives are crafted to ensure that we achieve our mission:

  • Conduct research, development and innovation of transformative technologies and accelerate their diffusion;
  • Improve the competitiveness of high-impact industries to support South Africa’s re-industrialisation by collaboratively developing, localising and implementing technology;
  • Drive socioeconomic transformation through RD&I that supports the development of a capable state;
  • Build and transform human capital and infrastructure; and
  • Diversify income, and maintain financial sustainability and good governance.

Our core values are EPIC and they are the driving force behind our ability to conduct cutting-edge research and technological innovation to improve the quality of life of South Africans. The CSIR pursues Excellence, celebrates People, personifies Integrity, and welcomes Collaboration.

https://www.csir.co.za/csir-brief 

Department of Science and Innovation:

The Department of Science and Innovation seeks to boost socio-economic development in South Africa through research and innovation. To achieve its goals, the Department provides leadership, an enabling environment and resources for science, technology and innovation. Through its Programmes (Administration; Technology Innovation; International Cooperation and Resources; Research Development and Support; and Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships) and several entities that work alongside it, the Department is accomplishing ground-breaking science and enhancing the well-being of all South Africans.

https://www.dst.gov.za/# 

Department of Small Business Development

To lead and coordinate an integrated approach to the promotion and development of entrepreneurship, Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) and Co-operatives, and to ensure an enabling legislative and policy environment to support their growth and sustainability.

http://www.dsbd.gov.za/about-us 

 

Namibia: Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board 

As Namibia’s lead investment promotion agency, the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) is committed to creating a simple and transparent business environment, built on the foundation of peace, stability and rule of law.

The NIPDB commenced operations in January 2021, taking over the functions of its predecessor, the Namibia Investment Centre (under the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade) to become the lead investment agency for Namibia. Located strategically in the Office of the President, the NIPDB serves as the first point of call for potential investors wanting to do business in Namibia. Our aim is to make Namibia the investment destination of choice by improving the ease of doing business here, starting with eliminating red tape and driving policy reforms.

Ultimately the NIPDB exists to unlock opportunities that enable a better quality of life for all Namibians. We do this by facilitating trust relationships to attract and retain sustainable investment for private sector-led and inclusive economic growth. As part of its statutory mandate, the Board also aims to improve Namibia’s competitiveness score, develop the required skills for sustainable investments that lead to job creation, and create an enabling ecosystem for MSME’s to thrive and scale.

https://nipdb.com/about-us2/

 

eSwatini: Royal Science and Technology Park Eswatini

The Royal Science & Technology Park of the Kingdom of Eswatini is the heart to stimulate economic activities and seamless trade and investment with our diverse ecosystem. This initiative is His Majesty King Mswati III’s vision to increase the kingdom’s economic growth and increase human capacity by developing a knowledge-based economy and infrastructure by exploring Science, Technology and Innovation.

https://rstp.org.sz/about-us/ 

 

Botswana: Botswana Digital and Innovation Hub 

Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub is an innovative and networked organisation that promotes technology, entrepreneurship and commercialisation. Botswana Innovation Hub is under the Ministry of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology with a Board of Directors from diverse disciplines to perform fiduciary duties for the company. BDIH is a company limited by guarantee to promote innovative ventures and has two subsidiaries namely Botswana Innovation Hub Properties (BIHP) and Botswana Innovation Hub Investments (BIHI).

BIHP has a mandate to develop and manage the Science and Technology Park and BIHI is a special purpose vehicle to attract commercially viable and technology related investments. The company focuses its activities and output on the following strategic areas; develop & manage Science & Technology Park, attract innovative companies and institutions, foster commercialization of innovations and technology transfer and contribute towards competiveness & national priorities. Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub supports start-ups and existing local companies as well as attracts international companies and institutions to develop and grow competitive technology driven and knowledge-based businesses.

https://www.bih.co.bw/bdih-profile/ 

 

Lesotho: PMU, CAFI Project/Ministry of Trade and Industry in Lesotho.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has launched the Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility at the event held on Wednesday in Maseru.

The Government of Lesotho has received financing from the World Bank to implement the Competitiveness and Financial Facility Inclusion (CAFI) which aims to facilitate the development of a comprehensive entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Thabiso Molapo said the Ministry is confident that this initiative will address the challenge faced by Basotho entrepreneurs especially women and youth.

Dr Molapo said Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility will be an entrepreneurship knowledge hub and business incubator that will work with entrepreneurs to help them learn how to turn their ideas into an enterprise, saying this initiative came at an opportune time when the country is faced with socioeconomic challenges that include poverty and high rate of youth unemployment. 

https://www.gov.ls/trade-launches-lesotho-entrepreneurship-hub-and-seed-financing-facility/ 

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