CEO & Founder of sme.africa & The Beancounter
Marnus’ ‘rags to riches’ success story reads like a movie script. He started washing cars and cutting grass to pay for school himself, followed by 18-hour days to get through articles and part-time tertiary education. A short decade later and Marnus had built one of the most valued and successful accounting firms in South Africa, was the youngest investor ever to be on the international TV show Shark Tank and had authored a best-selling book. In 2018, he founded sme.africa – a ‘no BS’ online platform and growing community for business owners in South Africa. Marnus has also launched and sold 3 tech companies, a glass company, a construction company and even a vegan restaurant. Marnus is arguably one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in South Africa and has become a thought leader and advocate for small business owners.
The Department of Trade and Industry, Research & Planning
Bharti Daya is employed at the Department of Trade and Industry, she worked in the international trade, and consumer and corporate regulation division and is currently seconded to Invest SA division. She has a Masters in International Relations and an Mcomm in International Trade Law from Wits and UCT respectively. She has undertaken research in the area of regional economic integration, global value chains, and regulatory issues in the transport sector, business rescue, corporate governance and investment strategy. She is passionate about global trade issues, economic development and governance.
Bharti is the programme Head for the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) programme which is a Presidential priority programme aimed at creating an enabling and conducive environment for business and investment. She has also undertaken research in the area of investment promotion and on the development of investment promotion material.
Bharti has also worked in the area of media law and human rights and is also very passionate about Children’s rights.
Turning challenges into opportunities
Founder, Township Entrepreneurs Alliance
Bulelani is a young entrepreneur and business speaker on brand development & entrepreneurship. He is CEO of IAF brands, a township-based award-winning branding and print manufacturing company. He is the founder of Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA), a non-profit organisation aimed at developing entrepreneurs in the informal and rural sectors. He has directly impacted over 12,000 young entrepreneurs and 20,000 young people from township high schools. He lives by the simple motto “GetThingsDone”
Founder, Made with Rural
Leeko completed her degree at UCT, followed by a postgraduate degree at the GIBS and short-courses in Chicken Hatchery Management, Farm Management and Beekeeping. Leeko is the Founder of Made with Rural, a platform that links small and medium-scale farmers in rural areas to formal markets. Her organisation is currently supplying McDonalds, KFC, Pick N Pay, Fresh-mark, Burger King and Spar, through the enterprise development programme with Dew Crisp, and they also supply some small restaurants and vegetable stores directly.
Duncan is a financial planner, broker, community activist, husband and dad. His goal in life is to provide value and be of service, which he does through his work as a financial planner and entrepreneur. He has been running his own business for 13 years. He is currently studying to be a coach and launching an insurance/fintech product which he sees becoming global. His aim is to enhance the lives of those excluded from accessing value-full financial services.
Director, Khayelitsha Cookies
Adri joined Khayelitsha Cookies in 2007 after leaving a corporate organisation, as she had a vision of a 1000+ ladies baking when she saw a small business employing 4 women at the time. In 2013, the company inherited R2.5million in losses and was worth R100K in net asset value. She gave the directors R1, took over the debt and literally put her house and assets on the line to keep 50 ladies employed. Currently they employ just short of 100 staff. Adri and her fellow director have managed to pay back some of the loans, had to borrow more money to relocate in 2017 to a larger facility, but they have truly turned this business around.
Founder & CEO, Reapso SA
Mahlatsi is a gem in the South African business landscape – a young, black female industrialist. The 30-year-old businesswoman identified an opportunity in the highly competitive manufacturing sector and established her clothing manufacturing business Reapso SA, a 100% black woman-owned business, in 2012, which is emerging as a leading corporate, PPE and design wear company. At the beginning the factory didn’t have sufficient resources, but Mahlatsi persevered and continued to amass knowledge about the textile manufacturing sector. This perseverance was rewarded when, a year into running her factory, she joined the Massmart Supplier Development Programme, which has helped give Reapso an opportunity of growth in this highly competitive industry.
Municipalities and their role in local economic growth: Facilitators or Inhibitors?
Dr. Tracy Ledger
Head of Research, the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI)
Tracy holds a PhD in Anthropology from Wits University and an M Comm from Stellenbosch University. Her main research interest is the analysis of institutional failure in the public sector, on the basis that the study of failure provides better insights into causality than does the study of so-called best practice. Her work is based mainly in local government and focuses on developing new theoretical frameworks with which we can interpret institutional outcomes. She is particularly interested in the relationship between exogenous legislative innovation and endogenous institutional factors, and how the latter undermine the former.
Director, Economic Development, SALGA
Charles has been involved in development management and planning for over 20
years, both as a civil servant and consultant. He has focused on strategy and
planning, organisational and institutional support, as well as programme and
project conceptualisation in the areas of economic development, the informal
economy, town revitalisation, human settlement development, and communitybased
development. In his current role, he supports municipalities in
conceptualising their economic development role and mandate, reviewing their
strategy and approach to economic development, improving organisational
design and coordination of the economic development function across the
municipality as a whole. Recently his work has focussed on town development
within in the regional economic context.
Chairman, Thulamela Business Forum
Ntsieni studied for structured programming and design at Luso Zakheni Computer College. He also did a course in HR Management and Computer Systems Engineering. Ntsieni is a motivated achiever who guides organizations in applying technology to business settings. He has extensive software development experience and knowledge, designing and developing solutions for the automotive, engineering, direct sales and other sectors. Ntsieni is now using his analytical skills he has gained to uplift the community that he comes from through inspiring a culture of entrepreneurship. He is one of the founder members and current Chairman of Thulamela Business Forum (TBF).
Soutpansberg Chamber of Business and Tourism
Pieter studied Business Management at the University of the Free State and USB. He also did an Advanced Business Rescue Proceedings course through UNISA and has 30 years’ experience in the banking sector as a Bank Manager and Business Advisor. Pieter is a director and shareholder of two companies with exploration licenses in two of our neighbouring countries and is also Head of Limpopo Dairies Academy, a fully accredited training provider with Food Bev SETA. He is also the former President of Soutpansberg Chamber of Business.
The elephants still in the room: Late payments and red tape
Acting Executive, SMMEs and VAT Strategy, SARS
Sanele is currently the Acting Executive for SMMEs and VAT Strategy within the SARS Taxpayer Strategy division. His role includes research, benchmarking of the SMME best practices on how to better serve and reduce cost of compliance for SMMEs. He recently conducted benchmarking studies with other revenue agencies such as Italy, Ghana, Tanzania and UK. His team was highly involved in the designing and implementation of the SARS small business desks. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics, Industrial Psychology and Public Administration, an MBA and is a recent
graduate at Henley business school on Executive Management Development Programme.
Country Director, International Finance Corporation (IFC) – World Bank Group
Adamou is the IFC Country Manager for South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia. Adamou joined the IFC in 1998 as an Investment Officer for Central Africa region based in Douala. He subsequently worked from IFC offices in Abidjan, Johannesburg and Dakar across infrastructure, financial markets, agribusiness, manufacturing and services. He was also the Resident Representative for the DRC. Most recently, he was the Country Manager responsible for Ethiopia, Djibouti, DRC, Eritrea and Somalia. Prior to joining the IFC, he spent a decade working for commercial banks. Adamou holds an MBA from Henley Management College (England) and a Masters in Economic Sciences from the University of Yaounde (Cameroon).
Chief Director, Integrated Economic Development Services, Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Western Cape)
John has held his current position since 2008. The successes to date include an extensive network of twenty support centres for small businesses across the province and the establishment of South Africa’s first Red Tape Reduction unit that focusses on improving the regulatory environment for small business. He was the first Western Cape Provincial Manager for the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). He holds a B.Com (Hons) degree in Economics and a M.Com degree in Management.
Theo served articles at PwC but returned to the family farm in 1987 when his father passed away. He went into property broking in 1994 and became involved in issues of corporate governance from 2002, with his first investment in the Sage Group. Theo is generally seen as the leading shareholder activist in South Africa, constantly pressing corporates for more transparency and good corporate governance. His approach to such matters has been hailed as both fair and rigorous. He has been involved in the CRISA (Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa) initiative since inception. Theo holds a B.Compt (Hons).
Senior Economist, TIPS (Trade and Industry Policy Strategies)
Mbofholowo joined TIPS in 2007 and is a Senior Economist for the Industrial Development pillar mainly focused on trade and industrial policy issues. He has a B.Com Economics degree from the University of Pretoria and is enrolled in a MSc programme focused on Industrialisation, Trade and Economic Policy at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. Mbofholowo has project managed, authored and contributed to numerous research papers and projects on economic development and industrialisation issues. He has also been responsible for providing supplementary research support to TIPS’ other pillars.