The Innovation Bridge Technology Matchmaking and Showcasing Event is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that is aimed at enabling linkages and networking between South African and international innovators, industry and public and private technology development and commercialisation funding partners. Innovation Bridge 2017 took place at Gallagher Convention Centre on 15 September 2017.

The event aims to encourage and accelerate the utilisation and commercialisation of existing and new knowledge and technologies that have been developed in publicly funded South African research and technology development institutions.
This focus on publicly funded research and technology development differentiates Innovation Bridge from other innovation and technology conferences and exhibitions.

The 2017 event was implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO).

Why this event?
There exists a need in South Africa to accelerate the utilisation and commercialisation of existing and new knowledge and technologies that have been developed in publicly funded research and technology development institutions. The focus on publicly funded research and technology development makes Innovation Bridge unique in South Africa.
The event provides an opportunity for technology-based companies, entrepreneurs, research institutes, science councils, financiers, and public and private sector representatives to scout for new technology solutions, new collaboration partnerships and new investment opportunities.

Speaker - Barlow Manilal: 

Mr Barlow Manilal is the Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). He holds a BSc Honours Degree in Industrial Technology and Management as well as several other management qualifications. Mr Manilal served as the National President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transportation of South Africa (CILTSA) from 2006 until the beginning of 2015. In addition to that, he is also an Editorial Advisory Board member of Transport World Africa, a representative of the Federation of Supply Chain Management Association of South Africa.

Mr Manilal spent fourteen years in the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), seven of which were as CEO. It is no wonder that today he is a respected role player on the Automotive Industry Advisory Council to the University of Johannesburg.

He participates in numerous conferences and Thought Leadership platforms, which focus on manufacturing, technology and innovation leadership.

Mr Manilal has been bestowed with numerous awards, nationally and internationally, amongst them the National Business Award for the Top Performing Parastatal, on three separate occasions.

Speaker - Vusi Thembekwayo: 

At the age of 17, Vusi was considered one of the top motivational and keynote speakers in Africa. He has presented on 4 of the 7 continents to more than 250 000 people each year. Thirty-seven world class cities including New York, London, Paris, Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, have all experienced Vusi as a top ranked speaker. His colleagues have come to revere his talent, especially for the style of his delivery. As a seasoned motivational speaker, he is very sought after by companies and governments. John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia called Vusi the “Rock Star of Public Speaking”. It has been said that his humour is the glue that binds some of his most diverse audiences in the world, his presentations are littered with jokes and stirs hilarity in the audience.

Vusi, however, does not just talk business – he lives it. He does more than inspiring revolution, he initiates it. He has been the catalyst for change in businesses across the globe through his expertise in strategy, leadership, and sales. At 25 years of age, he is one of the youngest Directors of a listed company, responsible for a R400m division in an R17bn multi-national.

Currently, he serves as Chief Executive Officer of a boutique investment and advisory firm that compels both medium and large and listed businesses towards necessary, sometimes painful but always lucrative, new directions. Finally, he continues to serve on several boards.

Speaker - Matsi Modise: 

Matsi is the Managing Director of SiMODiSA. She is an entrepreneur and an avid entrepreneurship activist. SiMODiSA is an industry association whose mission is to accelerate entrepreneurship by collaborating with policy makers to enhance the success rate of high impact, high growth entrepreneurs. Matsi and her team are avidly working toward removing barriers that block the growth and success of startups and SMEs is South Africa.

Matsi’s work experience ranges from Investment Banking at Investec Bank Ltd to enterprise development advisory roles. She currently sits as a Director on the Free State Land Use Advisory Board and is a member of the Institute of Business Advisors.

She has been inducted as a World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Johannesburg Hub and the South African Chapter Head of the Pan-African foundation, Africa 2.0. Matsi was awarded the Coca Cola Young Achiever of the year award at the Women in Leadership Africa Summit 2013. She represented South Africa at the African Union 50th Jubilee celebration in Ethiopia and was part of a Youth Forum, which engaged with various African leaders such as Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Zambian past President Kenneth Kaunda and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Speaker - Tanya Van Lill: 

Tanya Van Lill is the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Southern African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (SAVCA) focusing on being the voice of the private equity and venture capital asset classes in Southern Africa. As a part of her new role she hopes to encourage Pension Funds and other institutional investors to allocate larger funds towards private equity, with the idea that it will be earmarked to develop innovations. Prior to this, Tanya was the Director of Academic Programmes at GIBS and a member of the Executive MBA Council.

Although a specialist in learning, leadership development, human behaviour, programme design and business management, Tanya regards herself to be a professional manager having worked in various positions at GIBS since joining the organisation in 2007. Through her work at GIBS, Tanya has been exposed to numerous industries, had the privilege to travel extensively and coached various teams on their action learning projects.

Prior to GIBS, Tanya worked at Standard Bank and FNB in the areas of people development. Tanya holds an MBA from GIBS where her research focused on methods to develop a global mindset.

Speaker - Gil Oved: 

Gil Oved is a South African entrepreneur whose portfolio includes digital, activations, production and field marketing services. Thirteen years after Oved and Ran Neu-Ner’s online trading venture went bust in 2001, they are now at the helm of a R600-million turnover company that employs almost a thousand staff. Over the years Oved and co-founder Neu-Ner have either purchased or started over a dozen companies to form what is now The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s biggest advertising group, which runs up to 300 campaigns a year.

Oved also succeeded in the role of Young Presidents’ Organisation’s Chapter Chair for Johannesburg. For which, Oved and Neu-Ner, were awarded the 2013 Absa Unlisted Company Award for business excellence and entrepreneurship. In 2014 Gil was one of the “Dragons” – a group of investors who offer ordinary South Africans investment in their businesses – in the Mzansi Magic reality show ‘Dragons’ Den’. Furthermore, in October 2016 he joined the MNet reality series Shark Tank South Africa as one of the five “Sharks”, in which entrepreneurs face a panel of investors who are conditionally willing to invest their own money and time in potentially lucrative business ideas.

Speaker - Edward Kieswetter: 

Currently, Professor Edward Christian Kieswetter is President of the Da Vinci Institute, a Technology Management and Managerial Leadership School, which contributes towards socio-economic development and transformation. He is also active as a Director of several companies and an Investor in the local Innovation scene. He also participates in the activities of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which was formed in 2008 to continue the legacy of anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, and his generation of visionaries. His colleagues describe Prof Kieswetter as a life-long leadership scholar and a voice of reason in the business world.

Prof Kieswetter has had a prolific and remarkable career. He served as group Chief Executive for the Alexander Forbes Group Holdings from 2010 to 2016. Under Edward’s leadership, the company restored its institutional integrity and financial performance, rebuilding a reputation and ethos of trustworthiness. He had been an Independent Non-Executive Director of Shoprite Holdings Ltd. since 2010 and also their Lead Independent Director since October 19, 2015. In his previous roles as the Deputy Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) from 2004 to 2009 and as Senior Executive at Eskom 1992 to 2000.

Edward led groundbreaking change management Programmes for which he was recognised as engendering positive growth in difficult times. Prior to that, Prof Kieswetter was a Lecturer & Divisional Head at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Athlone Technikon from 1984 to 1991 and an Electronics & Instrumentation Engineer at Caltex Refinery from1981 to 1983.

In 1991, he became an Academic Associate (Cognitive Development) at Harvard University. Prof Kieswetter then completed an M.S.Ed (Cognitive Development) at UWC in 1996, followed by an MBA from Henley UK in 2001, and M.Com (cum laude) from North West University (NWU) in 2007. Prof Kieswetter’s academic highlights include serving then as a Visiting Professor at the Da Vinci Institute in 2016. In 2015, he was reappointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Free State (UFS).

Speaker - Polo Radebe: 

Ms Polo Leteka Radebe is Founding Shareholder and Chief Executive Officer at Identity Capital Partners (Pty) Limited (IDF). Identity Capital Partners is one of South Africa’s only black women owned and managed investment companies. She also serves as one of the Managers of the IDF SME Fund. The IDF fund, launched in 2008, is unusual in that it invests exclusively in female entrepreneurs. Furthermore she is known as being one of the judges of Dragon’s Den South Africa.

Ms Radebe is a Director on the Board of The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), Trustee on the SAB Entrepreneurship Foundation, City of Jo’burg Economic Development Advisory Panel member, Member of a sub-committee of the BBBEE Advisory Council, and Deputy President of Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP).

Ms Radebe was previously the Chief Director for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) at the South African Department of Trade and Industry. Additionally, Radebe was Fund Manager for Standard Property Income Fund, Research Analyst for Aloecap (Pty) Ltd and Trainee Accountant at Gobodo Inc.

Speaker - Mrs G.N.M Pandor-MP: 

Mrs Naledi Pandor currently serves as the Minister of Science and Technology. Before becoming the Minister of Education in 2004, Mrs Pandor was involved in progressive educational activities in various ways. She taught English in both Botswana and London and then lectured at the University of Botswana before joining the University of Cape Town in 1989 as a senior lecturer.

Mrs Pandor was also ANC chairperson for Athlone Central branch and executive Chairperson of the Desmond Tutu Education Trust and chairperson of the Western Cape School Building Trust. She served as deputy chairperson of the Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa from 1992 to 1995, and later as chairperson of the fund. She also served as deputy chairperson of the Joint Education Trust Board of Trustees from 1993 to 2001.

Following South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994, Mrs Pandor was elected to Parliament, and in 1995, she became a Whip and then Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC. She also convened the Sub-Committee on Higher Education in the Education Portfolio Committee. In 1996, Mrs Pandor was appointed as a member of the Cape Technikon Council. In August 1998 she became the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and in 1999 she was elected Chairperson of that Council.

Speaker - Mmboneni Muofhe: 

Mr Mmboneni Muofhe is the Deputy Director- General (DDG) for Technology Innovation at the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa. He was previously DDG for International Cooperation and Resources and has held several positions at the Department, including being Chief Director: International Resources, Director: Strategic Partnerships and Director: Global Projects. During this period he oversaw South Africa’s growing participation in EU Research Funding programmes, led the mobilisation of Official Development Assistance funds to support South Africa’s science ecosystem and forged the Department’s partnerships with numerous Multinational Companies.

Mr Muofhe’s early working career and post-graduate years were mainly focused on agricultural biotechnology. He was a UNESCO Biotechnology Fellow at the Agricultural Research Council in 1997 before joining the Foundation for Research Development (now National Research Foundation) as Coordinator and then Manager for Technology and Human Resource for Industry Programme (THRIP).

Mr Muofhe’s current responsibilities include overseeing the implementation of South Africa’s Space Science and Technology Strategy, Bioeconomy Strategy, as well as Energy Research and Technology Strategy, Innovation Priorities Instruments, new Research Areas and finally overseeing implementation of the IPR Act.

Speaker - Pavlo Phitidis: 

As an entrepreneur and director of various businesses, Pavlo offers over 20 years of direct experience in conceptualising, starting and building business enterprises in South Africa. He has brought to market business assets in excess of R1bn in the forms of family businesses, company start-ups, company turnarounds and a number of acquisitions for the purpose of company listings. Pavlo says his deep-seated understanding of entrepreneurship and business development comes from direct experience in conceptualising, building and selling businesses. He has actively commentated on entrepreneurship in South Africa via the platform of radio stations 702 Talk Radio and 567 Cape Talk.

Pavlo’s success lies in his beginning-to-end view on the entire business building cycle from start-up to sale. Additionally, his cross-sector experience has afforded him an entrepreneurial perspective of industry peculiarities and business dynamics. This includes the perspective of both the entrepreneur offering a business and the corporate doing business with them. In conversation and when he is presenting, Pavlo makes use of a colourful variety of images, stories, and analogies to tackle everything entrepreneurial. He makes vivid all the facets from the family owned businesses to entrepreneurial behaviour in big business. Today, as CEO and co-founder of Aurik Business Incubator, Pavlo works with entrepreneurs to build successful entrepreneurial businesses.

Speaker - Monique Mathys-Graaff: 

Monique Mathys-Graaff is currently part of the Research and Projects development team at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). This division is focused on identifying investment opportunities, which would both enhance PIC performance and act as a catalyst for inclusive economic growth. As an investment professional with sixteen years experience and a CFA charter holder, her experience set has grown out of work exposure in financial markets through to mining companies.

Her previous role centred on government policy as Head of Economics at the Chamber of Mines of South Africa and deputy Chairperson of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) Economic Trade Policy committee.

Her career started as a top rated mining analyst at an international investment bank. It then progressed to corporate finance, acting as specialist advisor for Mining BEE transactions, eventually heading up the Investor Relations function of a top 40 mining company. Before joining the Chamber, she set up Standard Bank’s mining and commodities equities research capability in her role as resources strategist.

Speaker - Malcolm Simpson: 

Malcolm Simpson graduated in Chemical Engineering in 1979 from the University of Natal/KZN. During the 1980’s he worked, with other specialists, on the development and commercialisation of four technologies:

1.     Activated carbon fibre for the recovery of gold cyanide from gold rich solutions.

2.     Zirconium/poly-acrylate dynamic membranes on porous stainless tubes.

3.     Woven fabric cross-flow micro-filter for the pre-treatment of industrial effluents to remove suspended solids before exposure to membrane water recovery technologies.

4.     Recovery of lignin and hemi-cellulose products from wood pulp mill effluents.

In the 1990’s Malcolm changed course from technology development to consultancy and took up a position in London. As a result of the “Fall of the Wall”, he took the opportunity to work on a number of interesting government and private sector reform assignments in the Commonwealth of Independent States (Russia, Armenia, Ukraine) and Central Europe (Poland and Hungary). In 2003 he returned to South Africa and took up a position at the National Treasury. In 2006 Malcolm was appointed Deputy Director General responsible for the roll out of the infrastructure required for successful delivery of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. After completion of the “World Cup Project” and until September 2015, he held a position in the private sector to work on the recovery of titanium dioxide pigment from titanium rich furnace slag. Malcolm now works for the Industrial Development Corporation.

Speaker - Phil Mjwara: 

Doctor Phil Mjwara has served as the Director-General of Science and Technology (DST) since April 2006. In this capacity, he is responsible for all policy development in the science and technology sector in South Africa. His duties include driving the implementation of the National Research and Development Strategy and the DST’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan for South Africa. Prior to his appointment at DST, Dr Mjwara was the Group Executive: Research and Development and Strategic Human Capital at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where he was responsible for assisting the CSIR in its efforts to strengthen its science base, including human capital development. In 2001, Dr Mjwara joined the National Laser Centre as its head.

He was instrumental in growing the centre’s activities from its inception, and in creating a network of centres in Africa (the African Laser Centre) until 2005. He has also held positions at the former Department of Arts, Culture, Science, and Technology (as Director of Technology Development), at the University of Pretoria (as Professor of Science and Technology Policy) and at the Universities of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Fort Hare (as a physics lecturer). He has been involved in the management of technological innovation, as well as in processes for policy formulation. He led the team that conducted the first South African Technology Foresight project. He has published and presented numerous papers relating to physics, technology analysis, and foresight. Dr Mjwara has served on various advisory councils and review boards. He currently serves on the Council of the University of Johannesburg and is one of the co-chairs of the Group on Earth Observations based in Geneva.

Speaker - Craig Wing: 

Craig Wing is a partner of FutureWorld International, inspiring companies to “future proof” themselves by “imagineering” their future strategy and complementary culture to survive the emergent world of technology, changing customers and the “New World or Work.” He speaks about Bitcoin, AI, Robotics, Genetics, Millennials, Autonomous cars, Customer Experience, Innovation and Lean start-up. Some of the countries he has spoken in include: USA, UK, Romania, France, Belgium, Germany, India and UAE. He is a frequent keynote speaker, including the SA Innovation Awards, Finance Indaba, Pioneer Nation, Africa Agri conference & ITWeb Digital Economy. He is an adjunct professor at the Indian School of Business (ISB) and adjunct faculty for Duke Corporate Education. Clients include Discovery, Barclays, Standard Bank, Investec, BMW, Huawei and the Indian Ministry of Communication. As a futurist, he speaks across industries, specifically FinTech, Consumer goods, Mining, Agri, and Mobility. He has been profiled on TV, radio and guest writer for CFO South Africa and French publication: Octave.

He has a BSc (Eng), MSc (Usability) and MBA from Babson College (USA) as a recipient of the prestigious Frederic C Hamilton scholarship for significant entrepreneurial achievement. During his MBA he was elected the first “non-American” class president. As Head of Small Business Marketing for Google, he launched South African Business Woza online, where in its inaugural year, SMEs created 50,000 websites– one every ten minutes. He grew revenue by 82% YoY and selected the African “Googliest Googler!” He is an AFLI Desmond Tutu Fellow, AshokaU Changemaker, World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Mail and Guardian Top 200 under 35, Destiny Man Top 40 under 40, disruptive Innovation speaker at TEDx and profiled at the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a Non-Executive for WomHub, a non-profit organisation, inspiring woman into engineering and finance. Further, he is Chairman of Moving into Dance, which educates disenfranchised youth through dance, as well as the former council member for PACOFS in the Department of Arts and Culture Performing Arts Center in the Orange Free State, where he reported to the Minister of Arts and Culture.

Speaker - Iman Rappetti: 

Senior News Anchor Iman Rappetti is an award-winning journalist who has worked across print and radio and was until recently a senior news anchor at eNCA. She has taken a break from radio in order to dedicate time to a book she is writing and read more bedtime stories to her little girl.

Iman counts among her career highlights, interviews and encounters with former South African President Thabo Mbeki, President Jacob Zuma, and queen of talk, Oprah Winfrey. In 2011 she hosted US First Lady Michelle Obama on her first SA tour as part of the Young African Women’s Leadership Forum, serving as an anchor for dialogue between Obama and young African female leaders. Furthermore, she facilitated the former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, public lecture at the Wits Business School.

It has been said of Iman that her humorous and poignant descriptions of her mixed cultural heritage give South Africans an insight into the struggles of being a child born of mixed race parents and how that affected a whole generation of children who were struggling to shape their own identities and futures. She always presents her view in an honest, down to earth and often amusing style. Not only has Iman become known for this humorous and candid style of presenting, but she has become one of SA’s most respected and popular media personalities.

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