Mareike Hinrichs

Design Thinking Expert, Networker &

Trainer for Entrepreneurship Education

 

My name is Mareike aka Simthandile. I am an advocate for social entrepreneurship and a graduate in International Management, Social Science and Economic Education.

My strong passion for people and listening to their stories combined with my expertise in Design Thinking and Pitching allows me to share inspirational content with my audience. I love networking and exploring start-up ecosystems.

 

In 2013, I successfully completed a semester abroad at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The following year, I returned to SA to conduct interviews with female social entrepreneurs as part of the University of Oldenburg’s International Center for (Social) Entrepreneurship and Technology (ICET) project. After completing my studies in 2015, I decided to spend a voluntary year in Maseru, Lesotho, where I supported the team of the National Commission for UNESCO in their entrepreneurship programmes for empowering the youth. From 2016 to 2019, I have successfully completed my Master’s degree at the Europa-Universität Flensburg. The title of my thesis is as follows: “Enhancing Awareness of Digital Tools for Aspiring Entrepreneurs in South Africa – A Case Study of the Nelson Mandela Bay Start-up Ecosystem.” I was inspired to write about this topic since I helped developing a digital platform for entrepreneurs called “Gründerplattform” as part of my work at evers & jung in Germany. This initiative aims at promoting entrepreneurial activities and increasing the sustainability of existing businesses by offering tools and step-by-step guidelines.

 

The conversations I had with all these inspiring leaders encouraged my endeavours to connect like-minded people. As a result, I was inspired with various ideas on how to improve the interaction between SA and my country of origin - Germany. Therefore, I initiated an international entrepreneurial seminar called “InterACTION” that aimed at bringing together students and recent graduates from Europe and Africa to develop business ideas in the areas of IT, Green Industry and Social Entrepreneurship. The seminar took place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in July 2016 and was attended by five different universities from four countries. Moreover, I offered free pitching workshops, mentorship and business coaching opportunities to more than 400 entrepreneurs based on the experience I gained at various entrepreneurial events. So far, I have hosted or attended numerous conferences, trainings, workshops, seminars and learning journeys on topics like business development, digitalisation, innovation, pitching and start-up ecosystems. These events took place in countries such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lesotho, South Africa and Sweden.

 

My specialisation in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management and having worked in this field for more than five years intrigued me to start my own business Kamvalethu Consulting in 2017 so as to work in the area of business development, digital education and share my entrepreneurial energy with others.



Xolisa Mgwelo

Marketing & Business Development

Expert, Mentor & Tour Guide

 

My name is Xolisa. I am a changemaker and graduate in Marketing with a passion for music, technology and studying about consumer behaviour plus the global market at large. In addition, I have a strong interest in innovation hence I find myself connecting more with entrepreneurial minds.

 

End of 2018, I joined the Department of Mercantile Research Office at the Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of Law as an Administrative Assistant and get to assist students, organise events and make sure that the postgraduate programmes run smoothly on a daily basis. Between 2016 and 2018 I was the Marketing Officer at the Department of Computing Sciences at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. During these years, I helped organising the National Science Week and Career fair for the Department. Furthermore, I was in charge of creating content for the social media accounts of the Young African Women in Computing (YAWiC) initiative and a DAAD-funded student exchange programme called Hub for Education on ICT and Sustainability. The topic of the 2017 Summer School was Innovative Internet of Things for Sustainable Cities that I joined as a participant.

 

As I strongly believe in the impact that technology can have on the South African youth, I raised about R60 000 in a crowdfunding campaign to support the Sikhanyise Computer Center in Walmer Township with equipment and human resources in 2016. The year before, I volunteered at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Maseru, Lesotho as a Marketing Intern. My main responsibilities were research, photography, writing articles and running social media activities for a project called “Lesotho Youth Connect”. While the 7th International Conference on Information Technologies in Environmental Engineering (ITEE) took place in Port Elizabeth in 2015, I assisted the organising committee in their marketing activities and also performed the song “Qongqothwane” by Miriam Makeba at the conference gala dinner. In 2013, I joined the United Nations Student Association (UN-SA) and took over the role as their Administration Officer which I kept until finished my Marketing diploma at Nelson Mandela University three years later.

 

In the past years, I have shared my expertise in marketing and creativity in developing innovative business ideas with my mentees and want to continue doing so as part of Kamvalethu Consulting. Moreover, I offer learning journeys through locally guided tours in South Africa.