We are so inspired by our fellows – they are go-getters, world-changers and big-picture-thinkers who are passionate about their ventures having a cultural, societal and economic impact in Africa.

AFRICAN BUSINESS INSTITUTE

WAKISO, UGANDA

African Business Institute is a relentlessly practical, Christian entrepreneurship institute in Uganda and Malawi that innovatively combines MBA-level business lectures, delivered by professors from some of the world’s top universities, with live projects, high-quality mentorship, and opportunities for investment. ABI’s vision is to apply the Great Commission to business – to baptise the business sphere for Jesus Christ. The startups that ABI launches are designed to build God’s Kingdom in their individual sectors.  ABI has launched 17 Christian businesses in Uganda, Malawi, and Liberia.

JUN SHIOMITSU

FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

Through the African Business Institute (ABI), Jun has launched and incubated 17 Christian startups since 2018 in Uganda, Malawi, and Liberia. Prior to this, he was a banker in Japan, the UK and Switzerland, initially as the Assistant Vice President of the Treasury Department of Citibank Japan, where he managed a US$100 million portfolio of global currencies and money market instruments. He also served as co-founder of the Global Financial Institute of Deutsche Bank Group, where he worked with the European Finance Association, the British House of Lords, Members of Parliament and economists from leading global universities to create post-financial crisis research and strategies for the European investment banking sector. Jun earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Cambridge, with a focus on finance and strategy. Prior to this, he was privately educated to be a pastor in Japan, spending five years studying theology, church history, comparative religion, apologetics, and other biblical studies.

AVOLANDS

BAYNESFIELD, SOUTH AFRICA

Avolands is essentially a marketing company that began out of necessity and from humble beginnings on a small farm in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands in 2005. At first, Avolands focused on ripening avocados for the hospitality and retail market in the province. It proved a great success and has since expanded ripening operations to Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Avolands have also diversified into processing preservative-free guacamole. The future of Avolands lies in the further vertical integration into developing emerging commercial farmers who would form part of the Avolands supply chain.

DAVID BLANKS

FOUNDER & CEO

David is a passionate avocado entrepreneur and an ardent ambassador for agribusiness development. He believes that the free market and small business development is the only credible means to long-term prosperity for all South Africans. Prior to farming, David worked as a consulting project manager in commercial and development agriculture throughout Africa. He is a dedicated family man and when he is not working, you will find him motorbiking in the bush with his two sons or riding his mountain bike in the forests surrounding his farm.

NHLAKANIPHO GUMBI

GENERAL MANAGER

Nhlaka comes from a rural homestead in the midlands of KwaZulu Natal. With no formal education, Nhlaka has risen through the ranks of Avolands to become one of the most influential decision-makers in the company. He is a skilled horseman and capable enduro motorbike rider. He is married to Bulelwa and they have a son, Landelo. Nhlaka is a man of responsibility and integrity and is the future of Avolands.

CAUSE FOR JUSTICE

SOMERSET WEST, SOUTH AFRICA

Cause for Justice is a non-profit human rights organisation that exists to act in the public interest in public forums such as courts, Parliament and government structures to promote and protect constitutional rights, freedoms and obligations, in the ultimate pursuit of justice at both the individual and societal or national level. Cause for Justice believes that the inculcation of its five core values in government policy and the South African legislative framework can contribute significantly to the achievement of enduring societal flourishing. It proactively takes on causes to promote its core values in the public interest and the interest of justice.

RYAN SMIT

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Ryan is an attorney who has served as Executive Director of Cause for Justice since August 2017. He has a passion for law and he believes in the potential of law as a driver or enabler of change and as a force for good in society. Through his work, he has seen this potential materialise on a number of occasions, in court cases and engagement with Parliament and other organs of state. In terms of outlook on life, Ryan describes himself as a ‘realistic idealist’ (as opposed to an ‘idealistic realist’).

JOIN BANDS, NOT GANGS

DURBANVILLE, SOUTH AFRICA

JOIN BANDS, NOT GANGS is a registered non-profit company that equips and trains youth in at-risk communities in music, as a way to help them avert the trap of drugs and gangsterism. Along with classes aimed at prevention, they also work directly with rival street gangs in an effort to facilitate peace between them, using music as the common denominator. Their vision is to give away 1 million musical instruments to 1 million future musicians, starting programmes in every town in the Western Cape and beyond. The ultimate goal is to be a peacemaking force, replacing gangs with bands.

KARIEN DE WAAL

FOUNDER

Karien is an enthusiastic, all-round creative with a passion for helping the next generation develop their God-given talents of music. After studying Marketing, she switched lanes to pursue her dream of becoming a composer, which saw her accepted into Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. Four years later, she returned to Cape Town with a seed deep in her heart to make a difference. After freelancing in the music industry for a season, she founded JOIN BANDS, NOT GANGS in 2018 as a way to bring peace to gang-ridden communities through music.

MINTOR

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Mintor is an award-winning social enterprise that aims to impact the lives of millions of unemployed youth globally. Through its first-of-kind chat-based youth development and employment platform Mintor enables development organisations to upskill millions of youth for work, youth to access career opportunities and businesses to find the right entry level talent. Over the last two years, Mintor supported 21,500 youth with career guidance, skills training and job applications – all through simple WhatsApp chat.

LEÀNNE VIVIERS

CO-FOUNDER

A creative problem solver, passionate about youth development and social entrepreneurship (and dancing) – this is what makes Leànne thrive and she’s put it to action having co-founded Mintor to see millions of unemployed youth realise their potential. Leànne’s background comprises 15+ yrs in IT and Operations Consulting (UK, USA, Africa), including her former role as global SME development manager for IFC (World Bank Group). She holds a B.Eng (Industrial Electronics) from Stellenbosch University and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from Oxford University, however, her biggest learnings were from doing business and learning from others that do.

OYAKE

NAIROBI, KENYA

Oyake is a consumer products distributor based in Nairobi, helping the big and small players win by ensuring that hawkers, shop owners and convenience stores (small players) have the best consumer products at the best price delivered at their convenience. Oyake also supports consumer products manufacturers and importers (big players) by providing last-mile access to general trade.

LYDIAH BOCHERE OYARO

CO-FOUNDER & HEAD OF OPERATIONS

Lydiah is a trained advocate of the high court of Kenya and the director in charge of operations at Oyake. She deals with sourcing and marketing of products ensuring quality consumer products are delivered to the people of West Nairobi. She is uniquely positioned by God to inspire women in low income areas to aspire to lead more and often challenges men to allow their spouses take a bigger role in running family businesses.

VINCENT OMBAKA

CO-FOUNDER

Vincent is married to Lydiah and together they work in consumer products distribution in Nairobi, supporting micro and small enterprises by providing consumer products at wholesale terms. He also supports governments and non-profit organisations in public policy development and advocacy and is an aspiring legal philosopher.

PLAN BEE

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA

Plan Bee Honey was founded by Tim van Stormbroek in 2019 with the express intention to use honey production for poverty alleviation among small scale rural farmers in Africa. Plan Bee currently focuses on partner and self-driven CSI and donor-funded honey production projects in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia. While controlling the quality of honey from the point of harvest through to the bottled and branded product, Plan Bee Honey can offer bulk buyers and retailers a socially responsible, high-quality real honey product in a category landscape rife with the adulterated product. Plan Bee Honey plans to impact thousands of rural farmers while turning our continent into a nett exporter of high-quality honey.

TIM VAN STORMBROEK

FOUNDER

Tim has pursued a career in occupational hygiene, food safety and, for the last 14 years, in environmental consulting. This has been overlapped with 24 years of experience in beekeeping and honey production as a sideline. Tim is passionate about grass roots development in Africa and seeing lives changed through sustainable rural beekeeping. He believes strongly that the agri-potential in southern Africa is still highly undervalued and is excited to help unlock this blessing.

STRUXIT PROJECTS

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA

Struxit Projects was founded in 2013  to provide civil and structural engineering services, focused on the private sector. They have one goal, to become the most influential engineering firm in South Africa. Struxit wants to build South Africa through its skills and employment within the building environment. Struxit is for people who seek excellence and trust in engineering. Struxit is a navigator, directing everyone involved along the best possible path to success while respecting their unique value due to their craft. They are a disruptive technology engineering company that takes a human-centric approach.

HANNES WAGNER

FOUNDER & CEO

Hannes holds a BEng Hons. in Structural Engineering from the University of Pretoria. He founded Struxit Projects in 2013 and currently acts as the CEO. He is driven by his desire to bring about positive change for his clients and his country. He values inclusivity, treating each person with respect and supporting each team member to chase their goals and fulfill their potential. He trusts and empowers, while excellence is non-negotiable.

WILL OLIVIER

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

Will is a passionate young engineer, family man and disciple of Jesus Christ. He was born and raised in Pretoria, matriculated at Hoërskool Waterkloof and studied Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University. He has a very positive outlook on life, the environment and the future of the country. He loves to play golf or exercise in his free time and travels as often as possible.

TIELEO PROPERTY FUND

SOMERSET WEST, SOUTH AFRICA

Tieleo (from the Greek word teleo) means done, settled or paid in full. The realisation that the price for our freedom has been paid in full has led founder Gawie Venter to start Tieleo Property Fund to restore and return that which has been broken to its former and better glory in the property sector. By turning around entire areas that have fallen into disrepair, they are a major catalyst for both temporary and permanent new jobs. They try to always buy low, create extra value, “force appreciation” of these assets and keep them for the long term.

GAWIE VENTER

FOUNDER

Gawie has been a dealmaker in business and property deals since 2002 and has a knack for identifying and turning around distressed properties. He focuses primarily on commercial properties that are struggling and creates value by filling up spaces that previous landlords could not. By buying these properties at low prices when they are not performing well, he has been able to turn around properties ranging from a small apartment to a 10,000m2 shopping centre over the past two decades. He has a degree in Accounting from Stellenbosch University.

PHILIP LA GRANGE

SENIOR ADVISOR & DEALMAKER

Philip is driven by a passion for business and technology, which is in turn matched by his vision to empower people to reach their potential. He holds a master’s degree in engineering and an MBA from Stellenbosch University. He initiated ventures in the service industry and in healthcare and served as director and chairman for a public company during the time that it prepared for a public listing. In 2014 he partnered with Gawie to establish Tieleo Property Fund, where they turn underperforming commercial and retail properties around to unlock value and to uplift the community.

UDOK

PAARL, SOUTH AFRICA

Udok is a healthcare services company with a unique digital healthcare ecosystem to assist in the delivery of primary care throughout the entire value chain. The vision is to provide access to patients no matter where they are, through the use of a mobile device. Udok is aiming to become the largest primary healthcare network in Africa through building the right partnerships. Udok started with this mission in 2017 and has built a team of 10 employees, delivering care to seven sites and growing partnerships with two of the largest retail groups in Africa. They currently deliver care to retail pharmacy clinics and will be nationwide by the end of 2020.

PIET VAN NIEKERK

FOUNDER

Piet is a GP and the founder of Udok. He grew up in the West Coast of South Africa, where his father was a GP in a small town. At a young age he witnessed the struggles in healthcare within rural communities. He then graduated as a medical doctor and gained work experience in rural parts of southern Africa and then Canada, where he used telehealth practices to service patients in rural communities.

U-TURN

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

U-turn is a Christian non-profit organisation that equips people with skills and work opportunities to overcome homelessness. U-turn works with unemployed, dependent and addicted individuals and walks a journey with them to lasting employment, independence and sobriety. Six months after graduating from the programme, more than 80% of participants remain employed and sober. The programme is designed by Occupational Therapists and includes initial assistance, substance abuse rehabilitation, skills training and work experience in one of U-turn’s social enterprises.

SAM VOS

CEO

Sam is passionate about doing business in developmental ways that ensure inclusive growth. Upon graduating with a degree in Industrial Engineering from Stellenbosch University, he moved to London and spent six years working as a project manager at Schroders Asset Management. At the end of 2004, Sam returned to South Africa with his wife and young family. After a year of studying theology at George Whitfield College in Cape Town, he joined U-Turn and became the Director soon after. Constant innovation over the past 15 years has seen the organisation grow from serving 60 people in an ad hoc manner in 2005, to more than 800 individuals through a phased rehabilitation process in 2019. During this time, Sam has established several social enterprises that now generate over 30% of U-Turn’s income. This includes a chain of charity stores selling pre-loved clothing, and Connect Consulting, a software consultancy that assists organisations with implementing Salesforce.

JON HOPKINS

COO

Jon loves using data to look at how systems and processes can be improved, whether it is improving client flow within a health facility, or effectively rehabilitating people facing homelessness. After graduating from Oxford University, Jon worked for a church, spent time as a primary school teacher in Tanzania and completed a Masters Degree in Development. Then, he spent nine years working in the field of public health for an international non-profit and the UN, including a stint in eSwatini. Jon moved to South Africa with his family in 2016 to join U-Turn, and, as COO, overseas all U-Turn’s client facing work, the retail business, and turning U-Turn’s replication dreams into reality.

VOLLAR

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA

Vollar works with organisations that want to make a difference. By using monetary incentives called Vollars, these organizations can give disadvantaged people a new way to earn money that they can use to feed their families. Vollar’s platform is unique because the money an organisation uses to fund its incentives can only be spent on products and services at small businesses.

KYLE UECKERMANN

FOUNDER

Kyle found a passion for computer animation at 13 years old and shortly after finishing high school was hired by the top visual effects house in South Africa. Just over a year later, Kyle’s faith was reborn, and he couldn’t put aside the desire to make a real difference in the world. Leaving a promising career behind Kyle went into mission work where he saw the need for technology to connect those needing help to those offering it. He taught himself to program and went on to co-found volunteering platform, VOMO, in the US before moving back to South Africa to start Vollar.

TRIGA VENTURES IS A NON-PROFIT AND PUBLIC BENEFIT ORGANISATION (PBO) IN SOUTH AFRICA AND ALSO HAS A 501(C)(3) AFFILIATION IN THE USA.

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