“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Mckevin Ayaba is an Ecosystem Builder, Catalyst for Africa’s Economic Development, Innovation Economy Strategist, Speaker, Startup Judge, Humanitarian, advocate for Inclusion and Diversity, and a Serial Entrepreneur. He is very passionate about entrepreneurship especially the development of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem in Africa. He enjoys assisting and supporting startup founders/owners to understand, grow, and advance their businesses.
He was one of the five winners of the 2015 inaugural Festival of Ideas competition organised by the Gordon Institute of Business Science department of Social Entrepreneurship looking for the best candidate with the best idea that impacts the community. As an Ecosystem Builder, Mckevin wears many hats. He is the Africa Ambassador for Global
Startup Awards and the Founder of the first ever regional startup awards in Africa started with the Southern Africa Startup Awards. The Global Startup Awards provides an annual spotlight on startups in regions across the globe. The awards stand to represent the entire startup and tech community – from the startups themselves, through to the people behind
them, & the organisations that work alongside these visionaries to make the great things possible.
He was honoured as a Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2018 by the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation for his humanitarian work with the communities. Named Top African 500 Doers by Tropics Magazine in 2019 for his work in supporting African Startups and fostering a conducive entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in Africa.
He was recently, September 2020 appointed as the World Business Angels Investment Forum International Partner for South Africa. World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) is an affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) Mckevin, has participated as a Judge, Speaker, and Panellist at over 200 events across Africa, Asia, Europe and USA. His topics include but not limited to Entrepreneurship, Ecosystem Building, Startups and Innovation, 4IR, Digital Economy, Diversity, Culture and Inclusion, Women in Tech (Inclusive Economy), Access to Market and Capital, and Policy with a focus on Africa.
Mckevin is an MCSE, CISSP & an IT Consultant by profession with a graduate degree in entrepreneurship coupled with multiple certifications in Information Technology and Startup Ecosystems building.
“Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”
– Tom Landry
Xabiso Lombo is a change agent who is taking up space in the entrepreneurial landscape of South Africa. In 2017 at the age of 20 she founded a tech startup, Funga, which seeks to address gender based violence through innovative technology not only in South Africa but at the world at large.
In 2018 her passion for entrepreneurship and innovation lead her to the Afican Social Business and Responsibility Foum which was held in Mauritius. It is here, after speaking on entreprenurship and innoviton where she received a special invitiation to meet the President of Mauritius at the presedential state.
She was part of the Allan Gray Obis foundation, which is a scholarship which supports high impact entrepreneurs, from 2016- 2019 and has received numerous awards for innovation from this foundation.
In 2019 Xabiso attended one of the worlds biggest technology conferences,
VivaTechnology in Paris, France as part of the AfrricArena top ten delegation. This delegation participated in an innovation challenge where Xabiso placed 2nd. She was also selected as part of the 14 Entrepreneurs to join the 2019 Red Bull Amaphiko cohort which is a support programme for social entrepreneurs in South Africa which is highly backed by beverage giant, Red Bull Xabiso was part of a Southern Africa delegation for the Boost Up Entrepreneurs programme which is supported by the Sothern Africa Innovation Support and the Finland ministry. This delegation went to Finland for an innovation bootcamp and competition which Xabiso won best female tech solution in. Xabiso concluded her 2019 year being named as ABSIP Student entreprenur of the year at the University of Cape Town.
In 2020 Xabiso joined the list of top innovators in Africa and is also the challenge winner for the Innovation for Justice Challenge supported by the Netherlands. Xabiso is an activist and strives for the empowerment of women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Her personal mandate is to drive inclusion and diversity and providing the marginalised with access opportunities. Her passion for innovation and technology are what drives her vision for Africa.
Xabiso’s vision is to see the African continent building better entrepreneurial synergies which in turn will build better African business which will improve the African landscape. Xabiso also holds a certificate in Leadership from the Kectil International Leadership Foundation and she is in her final year at the University of Cape Town studying towards Bcom in Accounting.
“I think one of the keys to leadership is recognizing that everybody has gifts and talents. A good leader will learn how to harness those gifts toward the same goal.”
– Ben Carson
Thandeka Zulu, is currently a Consultant in Skills Development & Education in the Mrp Foundation, Chief Executive Officer of Niya Consulting and UBI Global Ambassador , which is a multi-facet Organisation that facilitate start-ups and incubation on Business Skills and its Value Chain. She has a Degree in Bachelor of Commerce major in Marketing and Development Economics with University of KwaZulu-Natal and have a Non-Profit Strategy certificate with University of Philanthropy (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley)
She has managed and implemented Programmes in Education, where looking at Whole School development in Primary Schools. She has also managed and implemented various Business Skills development Programmes in Retail and Supply Chain, where bridges the gap between school-leavers and the world of work. She has also worked with different stakeholders from NGO, Business and Government Sector.
In Retail Value Chain, she has work with various Business owners mentoring them on the implementation and application of Quick Response and Fast Fashion model on lean production, to make manufacturing and retailers to operate in world class standards and alignment of technology infrastructure in the manufacturing that allows quick response model. Also, work with more than 1200 Retail Stores and 4000 unemployed youth talent pipelines on yearly basis, where we partner with various employer partners in Operations, Merchants, Pre-production and Production in support of more than 500 Store Management in mentoring the talent pipeline.
She is a member of African Union TVET Education Cluster and Skills Initiative for Africa, UBI Global member and Country Ambassador and Steering Committee member for National Association of Social Change Entities in Education.
“To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence … When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’”
– Lao Tzu
Silas Newaka is the Manager of Innovation Marketplace at NBII | NUST. Silas is a well-known innovation ecosystem builder with special focus on youth entrepreneurship and innovation. He hails from a family of rural innovation practice, hence in his spare time; he is also a part- time entrepreneur. His professional experience is marked by trend progressive positions in Government, International Organisations and Civic Society. He has published books as a writer, and content reviewer mostly with Namibia College of Open Learning (NAMCOL). Silas is a graduate of the University of Namibia (Windhoek), Institute of Social Studies (The Hague) and the World Trade Organisation in area of Economics, Public Policy and Administration and, Regional Trade Policy. He was amongst the first team members that established the first Namibia’s Innovation promotion institution known as “The Namibia Business Innovation Institute”.
Silas regards himself as a social innovator whose dedication over his career has served in various national, regional and international initiatives, programmes and projects that aim to reduce poverty in the country. He therefore, believes in entrepreneurship, partnerships and collaboration to reach the objective of poverty free society.
“What inspires me about Startup Ecosystem in Namibia and Africa?”
The vibrant youthful people are more involved and bring creativity to the fore-front. They are millennials for 4th industrial revolution.
Most recent programmes lead by Silas includes:
- The Pilot Programme of Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) programme Country Coordinator- Namibia – 2013-2015.
- Establishing the Southern Africa Startup Award (SASA) Namibian Chapter – 2018.
- Development of Trade in Services Policy for Namibia as Local Expert – 2018-2019.
- Setup of Innovation Circle (Open Innovation Platform) 2014.
- Curriculum developer for Bachelor and Diploma Youth Development with strong entrepreneurial subjects at Namibia College of Open Learning, 2019.
- Namibia Project Manager in a regional project “Regional Connectivity and Global
- Visibility project implemented by Southern Africa Startup Award (SASA) – 2019-2020.