The 2016 Net Prophet conference, held in Cape Town, brought together some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds to discuss growth in South Africa.
Thursday the 7th of April saw the day-long 2016 Net Prophet conference take place in the Artscape Theatre in scenic Cape Town. The conference, focussed on delivering talks and insight around innovation and technology, brought together some of the finest entrepreneurial minds in the country to share their perspective.
The event, which was hosted by veteran South African presenter and Radio 702 talk show host Kieno Kammies saw the likes of Alan Knott-Craig, Marlon Parker and Erik Hersman deliver keynote addresses on achieving growth in the South African market, told through their own unique experiences. Read: Net Prophet 2016: Get ready to get your geek on
You can feel the excitement in the air as #NetProphet2016 is about to get started!
Net Prophet 2016 kicked off in the capable hands of Kammies, who welcomed the crowd and proceeded with the first interview of the day with Stephen Ekbergh of Travelstart South Africa.
Travelstart functions as a disruptive flight and holiday price checker which compares the fees of major airlines to international destinations. Ekbergh spoke on establishing the Travelstart brand across Africa, where the brand now enjoys prominence in multiple African countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania among several others.
Ekbergh described his affinity for working in South Africa, citing that he has “always felt a connection with the country” while enjoying the entrepreneurial climate Cape Town has to offer.
Michelle Atagana, Google SA
Ekbergh was followed on stage by Michelle Atagana of Google South Africa, who spoke on the importance of race and gender in entrepreneurial and technology spheres.
In an address which kept attendees on their toes, Atagana cited the importance of ensuring racially and ethnically diverse leadership in entrepreneurial firms.
Atagana further addressed what business and startups could do to redress injustices in South African history, citing the importance of developing paid internships to cultivate skills development while ensuring access to entrepreneurial empowerment for disadvantaged persons and communities.
Atagana further weighed in on the use of language in business environments, and stated the importance of integrating other South African languages into entrepreneurial spaces.
“English is the language of business… but why aren’t we making an effort to understand those who aren’t Eng 1st language?” – @MichAtagana
Adi Eyal of Code4SA was next up on stage, who proceeded to offer a riveting address on the uses of code and data in analysing trends, opportunities and surprising realities within South Africa. Code4SA promotes the release of data under Open Data Licenses, and offers access to such data through various projects and community outreach initiatives.
Eyal highlighted several of the platforms Code4SA had built around open data, including an online tool for establishing an ethical living wage for domestic workers, as well as calculating the gross revenues of speeding violations per South African municipalities.
Alan Knott-Craig JR, Project Isizwe
Alan Knott-Craig Junior, the head of Project Isiziwe, an initiative which is currently petitioning local governments to introduce free Wi-Fi on the same model the foundation established in the City of Tshwane, was next on stage to speak on both his personal journey in entrepreneurship and the vision of Project Isizwe.
Knott-Craig spoke on the importance of establishing access to information and internet penetration to South Africa’s democracy, citing the success of Project Isizwe’s roll-out of free Wi-Fi in the City of Tshwane, likening access to internet as similar to the ability and right of citizens to access clean water.
Stay tuned this week for an exclusive interview this week with Alan Knott-Craig, where he offers his insights into Project Isizwe and his vision for internet access in South Africa on Bandwidth Blog On Air.
Marlon Parker, Rlabs
Marlon Parker was the next speaker to take the stage, where the Cape Town-based entrepreneur shared his inspiring vision and initiative with Rlabs. RLabs is a social enterprise which focusses on community driven innovation and reconstruction; offering open learning with the development of personal skills and training in South African communities.
Parker shared his journey in bringing hope to those in informal settlements, and shared his belief that South African entrepreneurs have both a duty and an opportunity to effectively instigate change in local surroundings.
Lebo Motshegoa, Foshizi
Lebo Motshegoa was the next speaker at Net Prophet conference, who spoke on key trends and business opportunities in townships and informal settlements in South Africa.
Motshegoa, who heads up Foshizi, a South African specialist firm in mass market research and strategy, spoke on targeting specific LSMs within the country and offered key perspective on eKasi culture, citing important branding opportunities and critical mistakes that many firms appealing to similar demographics are guilty of making.
Erik Hersman, BRCK
Erik Hersman, one of the founders of BRCK – a portable and rugged Wi-Fi router developed with the goal of ensuring internet penetration across Africa – was the next to take to the stage.
Hersman, speaking on the importance of the establishment of digital infrastructure in Africa, cited that digital trade offers a greater impact on a country’s gross domestic product than standard goods.
Hersman iterated his belief that the goal of bringing internet penetration to unconnected communities in Africa can only be assured through ground-based connectivity options such as what BRCK offers; opining that local connectivity through internet nodes is the key to connecting rural and urban African diasporas.
David Wilson, Assimetric
David Wilson of Asimmetric was Net Prophet 206’s penultimate speaker, who spoke on establishing Assimetric, a Wi-Fi monitoring tool which raised millions of rands in venture capital.
Assimetric functions through the use of a bot which analyses the effectiveness of internet access to services such as Facebook or YouTube.
Wilson shared his journey in establish Assimetric, citing the early use of the tool to instead monitor 3G connections, and shared his personal perspective that entrepreneurs need to focus on creating good luck to succeed in their chosen environment.
Catherine Luckhoff, Nichestreem
Catherine Luckhoff was the final speaker of Net Prophet’s 2016 conference, and spoke on the development of Nichestreem‘s Liedjie; an Afrikaans streaming portal which delivers high-quality Afrikaans content from South African performers.
Luckhoff spoke on the untapped potential in developing a content stream for a previously untapped audience, and shared her personal journey in establishing Liedjie as the go-to service for local Afrikaans content.
Stay tuned for more Net Prophet content!
We’ll be taking our exclusive interview with Alan Knott-Craig of Project Isizwe live in the days to come on our weekly podcast show, Bandwidth Blog On Air. Be sure to stay tuned for his insights on how Project Isizwe plans to roll-out free Wi-Fi across South Africa! Read: The time for free internet access in South Africa is now
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