The Future Innovators

Fatoumata Ba (Board Member, Investor & Entrepreneur, WEF Young Global Leader, Choiseul 100 Africa & Forbes Africa 30 under 30)

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Fatoumata BA is a Board Member, Investor & Entrepreneur currently the Founder & CEO of Janngo, the #1 tech for good platform in Africa.

At Jumia, the #1 African unicorn, she served as Founder & CEO in Ivory Coast, Managing Director in Nigeria and Member of the Executive committee at Africa level, driving the performance of 130+ operations across Africa, spanning around 10+ verticals in 30+ countries with 3000+ direct jobs, 70000+ indirect jobs and opportunities created for more than 500 000 SMEs across Africa.

She is passionate about leapfrogging development through technology in Africa, in particular when it comes to women's entrepreneurship & empowerment, SMEs growth and formalization as well as tackling health and education issues through medtech and edtech.

Her career and commitment have been rewarded with several distinctions including World Economic Forum ‘Young Global Leader’, Choiseul 100 Africa ‘Economic Leaders of Tomorrow’ and Forbes Africa ‘30 under 30’.

She serves on the Board of SouthBridge Investment Bank, on the Investment Committee of Creadev Africa and on the Council of Women in Africa. 

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Vinny Lingham (Co-founder & CEO of Civic.com)

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Vinny Lingham is a well recognized Internet entrepreneur who is currently the co­founder & CEO of Civic Technologies, Inc ­ a startup company that has a goal to eliminate new account fraud and prevent identity theft by creating an "Identity Network” where consumers can confirm their identity in real­time with participating merchants and vendors. 


He raised $2.75 million in venture funding led by notable investor Social Leverage. Prior to Civic, he was the co­founder and CEO of Gyft ­ a mobile gift card company founded in 2012 and backed by Google Ventures. Gyft quickly become the leading player in the space and was acquired by global payments giant, First Data Corporation in 2014, for over $50m. 


Vinny previously founded & ran Yola.com, Clicks2Customers and incuBeta. Vinny is also the co­founder of SiliconCape.com, an NGO based in South Africa that aims to turn Cape Town into a technology hub. 


Vinny is an active technology investor primarily in Silicon Valley. He also partnered with one of his previous co­founders to establish an investment fund in South Africa, called Newtown Partners, where he has led early stage investments into successful and notable startups such as Sweep South, in South Africa. 


Vinny is a Shark on MNET’s Shark Tank reality TV series . He has also appeared as a Dragon on the South African edition of Dragon’s Den, the longest running UK investment reality show (sister show to Shark Tank), a reality television program where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists. 

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Ashish Thakkar (Founder, Mara Group & Mara Foundation)

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Ashish is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business in 1996 at the age of 15 with a $5,000 loan. Since then, he has driven the growth of the company from a small IT business in Uganda to the globally recognised multi-sector investment group that exists today. 


Through its investments, Mara Group now has a presence across 25 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services, infrastructure and real estate. 


Ashish continues to drive the business development and strategy of Mara.

In 2012, Ashish was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in recognition of his success and leadership in driving social and economic change in Africa. 


Ashish advises several heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa.


Ashish is passionate about enabling, empowering and inspiring young male and female entrepreneurs. Consequently, in 2009, he founded the Mara Foundation to foster and support emerging entrepreneurs through mentorship and venture philanthropy.

Ashish is based in Dubai and Kampala, Uganda.

the future leader

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Amrote Abdella (Regional Director, Microsoft 4Afrika)

Amrote Abdella, Dr Nik Eberl

Amrote Abdella is the Regional Director for Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative, a multi-year commitment by Microsoft to actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness. 


At Microsoft, Amrote focuses on enabling Microsoft's investment to drive Africa’s businesses, youths and governments adoption of technology to innovate and remain competitive. 


She also serves as a judge and advisor in several Pan Africa innovation engagements. Prior to Microsoft, Amrote worked with the World Economic Forum, World Bank, the Global Hunger project and the Grameen Foundation focusing on financial access, policy guidance and economic development. 


Amrote is a firm believer in the promise of Africa, its inclusive development and that of its people, and passionate to mentor youth in leadership and technology careers. 


She holds a Masters in International Economic Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and a BA from Davidson College, North Carolina, USA.

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Hendrik Halbe (Founder VenturesPlus & Get in the Ring)

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Founder Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (leading expert centre)


Partner HK Group


Founder Get in the Ring (global matchmaking in 100+ countries), award winning concept


Developed Rotterdam Science Tower Incubator


Developed innovation ecosystem in Rotterdam (20 million+ budget)


Academic background in entrepreneurship & innovation

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Bony Dashaco (Group President at ACMAR GROUP West & Central Africa)

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Bony Dashaco is a Cameroonian businessman, who is the chairman of African Center for Marketing, Advertising and Research (ACMAR) media group, which has a presence in 22 African countries with 1000 direct jobs.


In 2014, he was nominated as an “African leader of tomorrow” by Institut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics as a person below the age of 40 who has impacted society. 


In October 2016, he was listed 36 on the list of top 100 African managers below the age of 40 years old by Institut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics.


Dashaco is the president of Médiafrique, an affiliate of ACMAR International. Dashaco was nominated 2016 Ranking of 50 Most Influential Young Cameroonians by the Center for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Business Management Development (CELBMD) Africa. 


In 2016, he was interviewed by France News Network Africa 24 with special focus in Africa to highlight the development of Media in Africa, problems and their solutions.


In March 2016, US embassy in Cameroon visited Acmar group in Douala and had an interview with group president based on US foreign policy in Cameroon. In his career, he was recently named one of Institut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics 100 Africa’s list of future economic leaders.

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Startuo Investors & Mentors

Alan Gross (Co-founder of Chef Works and Global Startup Investor)

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Alan Gross has only had one job throughout his life, and as an entrepreneur has spent the past 40 years helping to build a very successful now worldwide family business who’s products are  sold on 6 continents, in 80 countries ,34 franchises and now manufacture’s it products in 10 countries.


"Chef Works” brand which he founded in the USA in 1993, has become the largest and most recognised professional hospitality clothing brand in the world, supplying restaurants,hotels,food service ,chefs,bar and wait staff. 


In 2015, Chef Works  opened its first sales office in Shanghai China and last year an office in Tokyo Japan. 

It has contracts which include major Casinos in both Las Vegas and Macau, the largest food service groups such Sodexo, Compass and supplies corporations such as  Marriotts, Disney to name a few. 


His dream is to open a 1000 franchise/licensing "Chef Works" stores in China and India.  It  supplies and continue’s to network and work with some of the top celebrity Chefs in the world and two years ago successfully signed its first  Licensing deal with the largest Garment Laundry Group in the World. 


He is now based in London working at Chef Works International strategic matters, continually traveling   the world, working at opening markets, sourcing production and trading its products and services. He  has also funded  2 start up medical businesses and he is currently invested in a number of start up Tech App's and he mentors a few exciting young entrepreneurs. 


Listen to Alan's Interview on Vimeo, Soundcloud and Youtube

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Dr Doug Mattheus (Executive Head: Strategic Consulting at Cell C )

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For the past 6 years, I have been the Executive Head of Marketing at Cell C, one of South Africa’s Cellular Network Operators. 


Here I headed up the markeCng function and, along with my team, controlled one of the biggest marketing budgets in South Africa and have increased Cell C’s brand value to be the 16th most valuable brand in SA with a value of $986 million (BrandZ, 2018). 


The brand equity and enterprise value also increased with Cell C being SA’s fastest-growing brand in 2018 with

a 48% year-on-year growth (Brand Finance, 2018), the Cell C Sharks winning the Currie Cup, and all digital plaTorms showing appreciable growth and engagement. 


My team and I have also grown the

subscriber base to over 16 million subscribers in the last few years and have won numerous International and local marketing awards over that same period.


I am also an independent Business Consultant and part-time lecturer / facilitator at USB-Ed, with an

interest in Marketing, Leadership, Culture, Strategy and Organisational Performance.


As the former Marketing Executive at Ster-Kinekor, South Africa’s leading motion picture exhibitor, I was responsible for the entire marketing function. There a cross functional team interacted with all of the Hollywood studios in releasing and promoting over 300 movie titles per year.


Prior to that, I served for 9 years as the Marketing Director of Nashua Mobile, a South African cellular service provider, where I headed up the marketing and was intrinsically involved in the company’s strategy. 

Nashua Mobile was focused on contract and pre-paid cellular, call routing and broadband data. I was part of the Nashua Group for a total of 17 years (8 years at Nashua Limited).


Before that, I worked at Radiospoor, that specialised in radio paging, and my career started at Firestone tyres in 1989. Through these different companies I have gained experience in Markting, Sales, Strategy, HR and

Training, as well as General Management.


Academically, I have a B Comm. (major in Business and Industrial Psychology) and B Comm. Honours (major in Business) from the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University), a MBA from Wits Business School (with a thesis on sport sponsorship), and a DBA from the University of Phoenix in Arizona, USA (with a dissertation on organisational culture).


I have served on the academic advisory boards at Tshwane University of Technology and Nelson Mandela University, where I also give regular guest lectures. I am a Chartered Marketer with the Marketing Association of South Africa.

I have presented at various conferences on a variety of business topics; the most common being

marketing, sponsorship, organisational culture, customer service, general business and strategy.


Listen to Doug's Interview on Vimeo, Soundcloud and Youtube

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