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Investing in young entrepreneurs. Creating measurable social impact.

Missing Middle

Every year, 4 million SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa miss out on a total of R900bn in required funding. These nascent businesses have the greatest employment potential but cannot achieve optimal growth as their funding needs are too large for microfinance yet too small to attract private equity investment.


Our Philosophy

As an impact investment firm, Venturecolabs is committed to creating measurable social value by investing in disruptive businesses and supporting talented entrepreneurs. Our primary objective is to catalyse the high-impact entrepreneurial movement across Africa.


Our Approach

We invest in young entrepreneurs with high growth potential, high-impact and scalable businesses. We provide a launchpad for businesses to achieve optimal growth and guide entrepreneurs along their business journey. We do this through an approach which is open and collaborative and engages all members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Our Partners

At Venturecolabs we believe that working together with organisations that share our vision of fostering entrepreneurial development is fundamental to growing successful businesses with greater impact.

The Innovation Hub
Maxum Business Incubator
Young Entrepreneur South Africa
Wits Business School
WBS Centre for Entrepreneurship
Member 1

Aadil Mayat

Having forged a career challenging conventional practices in the healthcare, technology, food, and automotive industries, Aadil is now applying his expertise in business process reengineering to introduce lean methodologies to startups. In addition to wide industry experience, he holds a Master of Engineering degree from the University of the Witwatersrand. Aadil's innovative approach to investment strategy and risk management makes him uniquely positioned to tackle the challenges of early-stage investing.

Member 2

Tim Lai

With experience in both leadership training and communication strategy, Tim thrived in the vibrant startup community in Shanghai where he gained valuable experience in running startups. Returning to South Africa, Tim recognised the importance of a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, leading him to mentor other young entrepreneurs and to lead the way for social impact investment in South Africa.

Member 3

Mapule Mokoena

A CA by profession, Mapule has been responsible for a multi-billion Rand portfolio in the media, ICT and energy sectors. Her financial analysis, risk management and investment decision-making skills were moulded through her experience in structured finance and investment banking at RMB, PwC and Absa Capital. She has now established herself as a trusted advisor to both entrepreneurs and investors.

Member 4

Alexander Simpson

An entrepreneur at heart, Alexander has created and established several successful companies in the technology sector. He is a product development and strategic communications expert with a passion for delivering “what’s next” and improving “what’s now” for companies that value innovation as a market advantage. Alexander consults and deals with businesses and individuals across the world regarding an array of infrastructure and innovation-related services and solutions.

Member 5

Benga Akerele

Born an entrepreneur, Benga has started and managed successful businesses in media, logistics, mining and manufacturing. His ability to identify opportunities together with his knack for effective strategic management has enabled him to prosper as a private investor. Benga's desire to advance the development of Africa is the driving force behind Venturecolabs and their mission to catalyse high-impact entrepreneurship.

Member 6

Rally Schachat

Rally’s tenacity for forming strong, strategic relationships and networks with his peers extends far beyond his natural charisma. His entrepreneurial spirit coupled with his international background have proven highly beneficial in his capacity to adapt and to employ creative strategies in pursuit of effective solutions. Rally has a gift for identifying new ideas that have the potential to influence significant change across communities: he has previously undertaken multiple successful ventures that have each been valuable in developing his ability to effectively execute high-impact, collaborative projects. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Politics and Economics from the University of Edinburgh.

Member Board 1

Prof. Mthuli Ncube

Professor Mthuli Ncube is the Vice President and Chief Economist of the African Development Bank. He holds a PhD in Mathematical Finance from Cambridge University, UK, on “Pricing Options under Stochastic Volatility”. As Chief Economist, he oversees the Economics Complex, which is focused on the process of knowledge management within the bank and with its partners, and general economic strategic direction of the bank. In this regard, he looks after the Development Research Division, Statistics Division and African Development Institute, all of which are headed by Directors who report to him. As a Vice President, he is a member of the senior management of the Bank and contributes to its general strategic direction.

Before joining the Bank, he held the post of Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, South Africa, and before that was Dean and Professor of Finance at Wits Business School. During this time he founded the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Wits University and led Wits Business School to a point where it was rated at 45 globally by the UK Financial Times in 2007. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow and Project Leader at Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

Prof. Ncube was a regulator, and served as a Board member of the South African Financial Services Board (FSB), which regulates non-bank financial institutions in South Africa. He is also Chairman of the Board of the African Economic Research Consortium, a network that develops economists in Africa, with which he has been associated for the last 20 years. He is the Chairman of the Global Agenda Council on “Poverty and Economic Development” (World Economic Forum). Prof. Ncube is also a Governor of the African Capacity Building Foundation.

He has extensive experience as an Investment Banker, and was founding Chairman of Barbican and Selwyn Capital. Previously, Professor Ncube worked for INVESTEC Asset Management as a Portfolio Manager and Head of Asset Allocation Strategy. He also managed Investec’s Global Managed Fund, an offshore umbrella-fund registered in Ireland. The fund had five other funds under it with investments in US, Japanese and European Equities, bonds and money markets.

Prior to joining the corporate sector, Professor Ncube was a Lecturer in Finance at the London School of Economics, UK, where he taught and supervised undergraduate and graduate students in finance and investments, and general theory of asset pricing.

He has published widely in the area of finance and economics, and some of his papers have won awards. Some of the papers have been published in international journals such as the Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Banking and Finance, Mathematical Finance, Applied Financial Economics, Journal of African Economies, among others. He has also published 4 books, namely: Mathematical Finance; South African Dictionary of Finance; Financial Systems and Monetary Policy in Africa; and Development Dynamics: Theories and Lessons from Zimbabwe; and a book manuscript on Finance and investments in South Africa.

His interests are in golf, reading and painting. He is married to an Engineer with whom they have 4 children.

Member Board 2

Innocentia Motau

Innocentia Motau is a headliner among the new breed of business executives. She is a skilled professional and an optimist who is eager to make an indelible mark in the South African business landscape.

Motau joined Shosholoza Operations in 2010 as an Executive Director, and was also appointed as the Managing Director in the same year. Shosholoza Operations is a Ships Agent for Meditterranean Shipping Compnay (MSC), the largest Container Shipping Line in South Africa and the second largest in the world. A Chemical Engineer and a Management Advancement Programme graduate, Motau has played an instrumental role in building Shosholoza’s business interests.

Earlier in her career, Motau was employed at Tsafrika Hospitality group. She later served a 5 year term as a Senior Investment Officer at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), focusing on infrastructure projects in both the public and private sector across the SADC region. She is a former Chief Executive Officer of Xpanse Investment, a BEE partner to MSC and also served as a non-executive Director on the Board of the National Youth Development Agency, representing the interests of the nation’s young people in business.

Over the past year to date, Motau serves as a Non-Executive Chairlady of Khauleza IT Solution, Non- Executive Director of Deltrosat Technologies and Sunburst Corporate Feeding Solutions. Innocentia is a founder and a Trustee of Young Entrepreneur South Africa (YESA), which holds a global membership of the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance. Motau takes pride in contributing towards assisting young entrepreneurs in South Africa and she is a great believer that entrepreneurship is the answer to job creation.