Advisory Board Members

RAJIV SERVANSINGH

member

Rajiv is the chairman of MindAfrica Group. He has lengthy experience in the public and private sector. Mr. Servansingh was elected member of the parliament from 1976-1982. He gave up active politics and engaged in business and consultancy/advisory services. He is currently involved in the Casino industry, Real Estate, Investment Promotion between India and Mauritius and Eastern and Southern African countries.

Padmaja Ruparel

member

Ms. Padmaja Ruparel is nationally recognized as a key player in the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem and has helped co-found many of the relevant institutions like TiE, IVCA, IAN incubator besides being an active Angel investor herself. Her operating experience spans large corporates, M&A, and startups/early stage companies. She has cofounded IAN, the world’s largest angel investor group with over 450 investors from around the globe, with 135+ investments across 7 countries with 32% IRR. And now as the Founding Partner of the IAN Fund, she is well on her way to create India’s largest horizontal platform.

Ramesh Awtaney

member

Ramesh, a dynamic entrepreneur, an Indo-African business magnate, investor, and philanthropist has deep business interests across Africa and the Middle East. He carries more than 28 years of rich experience in global technology, market development and business process outsourcing across Telecom Providers and other Verticals.

Under his leadership, iSON has become one of the leading centers of IT and ITes excellence and has acquired a pan-African footprint with presence in over 25 African countries. Staffed with over 12,500 employees across Africa and the Middle East in 29 countries, iSON has secured various people awards including the Great Place To Work (GPTW) organization’s award, under the Bright Spot category for ‘Best Practices’ and exceptional ‘CSR’. In addition, Ramesh was conferred with the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Champion in Biz Awards during the 2016 ASSOCHAM India Africa Trade and Investment Forum. Ramesh was bestowed with “Technology Company CEO of the Year” during the 2016 Nigeria Technology Awards (NiTA).

Awtaney is very passionate about partnering with initiatives like Girl Effect (GE) who work to bring adolescent girls out of isolation; along with iSON has been launched in Nigeria using technology and online mentors.

Awtaney is the best-known entrepreneurs of the “Digital Africa” revolution and has invested in African startup Oliza in Kenya and is anchoring Mondo Ride’s expansion plan in East Africa. An entrepreneurial advocation to the budding startups in Mobile apps and the Internet of Things (IoT) areas such as Athena, u2opia, and Ventus. Ericsson, and ABB in ASEAN and APAC regions, where he initiated several high-value business models.

Sanjay Mungur

member

Sanjay G. Mungur graduated as Production Engineer from the University of Nottingham, the UK in 1988. He worked for several private companies in the UK and Mauritius and quickly climbed the management hierarchy, with his last position as General Manager in a large textile company. In 1992, he joined the Export Processing Zones Development Authority (EPZDA), as Consultant, specializing in Business Process Reengineering, SME Development & Industrial Policy formulation and worked on several assignments of strategic importance. His portfolio also included supporting private enterprises to have access to technical assistance, marketing and financial supports via international organizations such as UNDP, UNIDO, CDE, ITF among others.

In 1998, he decided to start his own entrepreneurial adventure by setting up EMS Consulting, a Management Consultancy firm, with a capital of USD 645 and employing two people. EMS specializes in Management Consultancy, Training and Regional Trade Development. Given his incisive entrepreneurial traits, success was forthcoming and he quickly diversified in regional trade. He also set up GMI Capital Partners, a property development company, ArtCom Outsourcing, a company involved in business process outsourcing. The asset base of the group is just under USD 10 Million, but through upcoming local and regional (East African) projects, it is expected to more than double in the next five years.

Since 2006, Sanjay is also the CEO of Empretec Mauritius (EM), a Not for Profit NGO, based in Mauritius, but also having undertaken projects in 14 African countries. He was its Project Manager at inception and has mostly been his way to give back by empowering people at the bottom of the pyramid for improved working conditions and sustainable livelihood, as well as promoting business excellence. He has nurtured the organization to an extent that it currently employs some 16 full-time staff and has 42 local and international Associates. EM is involved in (1) Entrepreneurial Development & Promotion, (2) Technical Assistance & Enterprise Capacity Building, (3) Business Development & Value Added Services; (4) Trade, Investment Facilitation & Regional Integration and (5) Inclusive Empowerment for Poverty Alleviation. EM has worked with several Enterprises, local and international institutions such as the European Commission, UNCTAD, African Development Bank, Centre for Development of Enterprise (CDE), UNDP, UNIDO, SADC, COMESA, the Indian Ocean Commission, etc.

Sanjay also advises many companies and business associations. He is also keen to bring his support to vulnerable groups, especially through skills development and empowerment for sustainable livelihood. He has been chairman of a social group and sat in various capacities in different government and private sector organizations.

Sanjay also has a very active regional profile for being involved in around 14 African countries supporting the development and promotion of entrepreneurship. An innovator, he has been an instrumental liaison with international organizations to develop new entrepreneurship support vehicles, such as Angel Investors of Mauritius (www.Investor.MU) which is now a member of GBAN.

Vuyisa Qabaka

member

VUYISA QABAKA is a Tech and Small Business Advisor, as well as a lean start-up trainer and a partner at Inye Business Consulting. He holds a directorship at venture builder, Entrepreneur Traction, and non-executive director seat at the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum (SABEF).

Past projects have included setting up creative business strategies and innovation spaces, as well as consulting at the executive committee level, with a focus bringing disruptive market positioning, offbeat social impact initiative, and ecosystem development. Being involved with numerous companies and projects over the years, Vuyisa has built up extensive experience in corporate communications, business innovation, business development, and marketing.

VVu or Chief, as he is known in business circles, currently consults in marketing and communications for the ICT industry in the Western Cape and gives back through various social impact initiatives, such as Impact Mzansi, Amazing Maize, Purple Cow Ventures and the Farm Mzansi cooperative.

Vuyisa completed a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) Degree and a Postgraduate Certificate in Property Analysis at the University of Cape Town. His journey into entrepreneurship already started as a 2nd-year student when he was involved with launching a student magazine and selling life insurance on campus. This is also where he developed a love for media.

His column in the Business Times paper is weekly a massive hit. He also writes a blog on the township economy called Kasi Economics {read more at www.kasieconomics.com} and mentors start-ups in various townships for the Kasi2Kasi initiative. But his media talents extend further than just writing. He is the television host/presenter of Business Beat on Cape Town TV (DStv Channel 263).

Stephen Newton

member

Stephen Newton is a Member of Advisory Board at Africa.com, LLC. He has spent close to a decade growing and leading successful and profitable online companies. Mr. Newton served as vice president and managing director of InMobi Africa, the world’s largest mobile advertising platform. He took this position after he had led Google South Africa, where he launched local versions of Google Maps and StreetView as well as YouTube. Mr. Newton began his career as a general manager and part of the founding team of Hitwise UK. He helped the organization more than double its employees, customers and revenues, and consistently over-achieved company revenue targets in one of the group’s most profitable divisions. His efforts were pivotal in the eventual sale of Hitwise to the consumer information company, Experian. Post-Hitwise, Mr. Newton served as the vice president of DoubleClick’s Ad Exchange covering the Europe, Middle East and African markets (EMEA).

In the Google acquisition of DoubleClick, he took on the role of head of analytics & commerce EMEA, where he was responsible for the Google Analytics product (GA) and growing the third party GA proposition. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Newton received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and his JD from Loyola School of Law in Los Angeles.

Become a Member of the India-Africa Entrepreneurship Forum