Leah Bessa holds a Masters degree in Food Science from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, and has gained industry experience in food product development. She is the co-founder and Head of Research and Development for innovative Agritech start up Gourmet Grubb, which focuses on creating functional, sustainable proteins from insects. Leah has spoken at various conferences globally about the need for sustainability in Agriculture and how novel Agritech solutions can pave the way for creating sustainable future foods.

Frank Reichert is a professor at the Department of Information and Communication TechnologyFaculty of Engineering & Science, UiA.

Prof. Frank Reichert has been the rector and chairman of the board of the University of Agder, Norway, from Jan. 1, 2016 to July 31st, 2019. He has been the Dean of the Faculty of a Engineering & Science from 2007 to 2015. He started as a professor in mobile systems at the University of Agder in 2005.

Frank Reichert has been working for over 30 years on technology and strategies for fixed and wireless communication systems both on national and international level.

In 2015 he was the Center Director for the SFI Offshore Mechatronics, a national center of excellence for research driven innovation (budget over 200 MNOK). He was one of the driving forces behind UiA’s Mechatronics Innovation Lab, a national lab for innovation, piloting and technology qualification.

From 1995 he was with Ericsson Sweden, guiding investigations on, e.g., Future Service Layer Architectures, Wireless Internet technologies, and 3G applications and terminals. Assignments included creating and managing European Research projects (e.g. EUREKA Subproject PRO-COM, ACTS OnTheMove).

Frank established Ericsson Cyberlab Singapore in 1999, focusing on user centric, ethnographic application and terminal design, as well as rapid prototyping of new HW/SW products exhibited at fairs like CeBIT 2001 and COMDEX (e.g. Ericsson Cordless WebScreen, Delphipad, Nanorouter).

He has been working as an expert, evaluator and auditor for the European Commission in industrial R&D frameworks such as RACE, ACTS, 5FP, 6FP, and Celtic Calls 1-3.

Dr. Reichert holds a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Aachen University of Technology, Germany. 

Nonkqubela Noloyiso Mayatula Nonkqubela Noloyiso Mayatula holds an MBA (George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, 2001) and B.Soc. Sci & Humanities (University of Cape Town, South Africa, 1993). Her entrepreneurial activities range from eco-tourism, wildlife management at Miarestate, (a wildlife estate in Haga Haga, East London, South Africa) and mining. She holds the Eastern Cape New Comer of the Year Award, won the Eastern Cape Lilizela 5 Star Service Excellence Award (in 2016 and 2017), and the Lap of Luxury Award Nationwide in 2017. She co-founded Motjoli Resources and was previously Deputy Managing Director of Coal of Africa Limited, a listed company. She served two terms as Chairman of Lafarge South Africa and has consulted for the Richard’s Bay Coal Terminal on coal export allocation issues. She has also advised blue chip ASX, AIM and JSE listed chip mining companies (including Anglo American and De Beers) on compliance with the mining law. She designed business processes for the implementation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, and developed strategies for implementing the Mining Charter for the DMR. She is also the former Deputy Chairman of the Department of Mineral Resources Ministerial Advisory Board. Nonkqubela was the Chairman of the Maloma Colliery in Swaziland, the only operating mine at the time. She previously served on the New Africa Mining Fund Investment Committee, the board of the Central Energy Fund (CEF) that house Petro SA, Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), the Board of the South African Mining Development Association (SAMDA). She was also a Mining Analyst at Mazwai Securities. Her professional career began with Accenture, consulting in strategy, business processes and change management for Spoornet, Eskom etc. Nonkqubela continues to provide strategic leadership on various boards and communities, including state organs.

Gerald Tinonetsana has vast experience working across multiple sectors including management consulting, development finance, FMCG, pharmaceutical manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, and state owned enterprises. His key strengths and experiences are in strategy development and execution, operational efficiencies, stakeholder and change management. Gerald also has extensive experience in project design and scoping, project management and strong communication skills. Demonstrated experience include: Solid experience in designing and delivering large scale strategic projects, Extensive experience in leading diverse teams and leading client engagements, In-depth experience in managing customer relationships and cross selling, Proven experience in strategic planning and execution, Strong analytical and problem solving skills, and; Investment appraisal and credit risk management.


  • Mphil Development Finance, University of Stellenbosch Business School (expected 2019)
  • Master in Business Leadership, UNISA School of Business Leadership
  • BSc (Hons) Chemical Technology, Midlands State University


Wenzile Madonsela Masimanga is studying towards a Baccalaureus Legum (LL.B.) at the University of South Africa, Pretoria and is in her final year. During her time in the formal and informal sector, she has worked in the media space, social media content creation and stakeholder engagement.She is a budding human rights activist and a democracy defender. At 25 Wenzile had already held student leadership positions at Varsity College and the University of Pretoria whilst spearheading the #iamjackson campaign. During this time the university workers were in-sourced, and transformation policies were implemented for the “Afrikaans must fall” campaign. She has served as the transformation officer at the Black Lawyers Association. Wenzile is also a dedicated team member at the Thuli Madonsela Foundation and her role involves extensive legal research. She has founded a leadership training program for women called the “Princess Chronicles” which seeks to train young women on self-acceptance, living consciously, acting with integrity, living purposefully, being assertive and adapting to the digital revolution and functioning within a fast forming global village. Wenzile is managing an non-governmental organisation that is working alongside alongside trek4mandela where she is travelling with 100 girls to all 7 continents by 20/20. She is an activist and currently the Director of Unafundo (Pty) Ltd.

Shawn Munir holds a Master of Laws from the University of Oslo. During 2016 – 2018 he was a legal intern at top-tier Norwegian law firms – BA-HR, Wiersholm and Simonsen Vogt Wiig. In 2019 he joined Lawbotics, the leading legal technology company in Norway as a customer success manager. He has a passion for technology and innovation. Prior to his current position, Shawn worked as a legal consultant at The National Federation of House Owners in Norway (HL). By combining law and tech throughout his studies and work, Shawn developed a deep understanding about the legal sector and the technology sector. He also has experience from several board positions in various industries. In addition to Norwegian, Shawn speaks English, Urdu/Punjabi and Portuguese.

Iva Tasheva, MBA and cybersecurity expert Iva Tasheva is a cybersecurity governance and policy expert. Her expertise includes cybersecurity, EU public policy, stakeholders relations, and advocacy. She is providing professional advice to organisations in the public and private sector on how to create a cybersecurity culture, governance framework, and policies. As for her academic qualifications, she is currently preparing a PhD proposal on the HR factor in cybersecurity risk management. She has obtained a Master in Cybersecurity degree (with distinction) and an MBA, specialised in International relations. Iva has leadership skills, speaks six languages and enjoys learning, thinking, writing, and building her professional network.

Astrid Margrethe Hilde has a master of law degree with energy law as her field of expertise. She was elected Mayor of Sogne and currently holds this position since 2015. Preceding her current position she was a legal manager for Agder Energi Nett AS. She has also held the position as a deputy judge for the Norwegian Electricity Board, which is a Norwegian dispute settlement system for complaints from consumer customers. She is the deputy leader of Fellesnemnda, which is the board responsible for establishing the new municipality of Kristiansand. Her experience also extends to numerous board member positions for various companies and political parties.

Salim Essack is a South African based professional engineer who runs his own consulting service called Leanbiz Consulting. He has a career spanning FMCG, Nuclear and Innovation fields. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. He has also completed a Greenbelt in Lean Six Sigma in Germany and a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma from the USA. Salim has held several high-profile positions including being the principal design engineer on the Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor, Systems Engineer on the Reactivity Control System, Group Engineering Manager for a large FMCG company, Business Improvement Manager for Westinghouse Electric Company, Project Director for a R500 Million greenfield New Build and Partner on a Disruption Innovation Programme for a large group of companies. He also serves as Mentor to the Innovation Hub and as an External Examiner of final year design for the University of Pretoria’s Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department. In 2014, Salim founded Leanbiz Consulting, a Pretoria based company centered around delivering projects that optimize the client’s value stream. The company if focused on delivering operational and strategic value and prefers to partner with a few clients for the longer term. The company has considerable expertise in managing turn-key manufacturing build projects, delivering breakthrough improvement and conducting due diligence studies. In 2016, Leanbiz Consulting started to focus on disruptive innovation and the development and prototyping of technology solutions as a service for its customers.

Ms Mpume Zwane is a business executive with over 20 years of experience in strategy, leadership, and portfolio management in the financial service industry, after having started her banking career through a Learnership Programme. She held the position of Regional Executive for Bidvest Bank KZN and is currently the Divisional Finance Director at Unilever. Ms Zwane is the Chairperson of Women in Business at Durban Chamber of Commerce and industry, and former Regional Chairperson of Businesswomen`s Association of South Africa.

Mpume holds a number of qualifications in Finance, Marketing, and Executive Leadership from various universities in South Africa and the United Kingdom.


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