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
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
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 includes 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.
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 adress 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.
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.
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 resent 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.