Humble but inspiring, Nkholise has world at her feet

Nneile Nkholise

Nneile Nkholise

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – DISTINGUISHED by its art galleries, Thaba Nnchu, at the heart of the central Free State Province of South Africa, is not a place you would imagine meeting one of the continent’s next generation of top female technology innovators and entrepreneurs.

However, it is from those humble surroundings social entrepreneur and mechanical engineer Nneile Nkholise (27), hails.

Her humility masks an individual who is among the most motivated and passionate entrepreneurs of her generation.

Nkholise’s promise was first realised when she was among the finalists in the South African Breweries Foundation Social Innovation awards 2015, where she was nominated in the development category and people’s choice award.

Her star however shone brightly when she was recognised as Africa’s top female innovator at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa held in Rwanda in 2016. This was in honour of her Master’s degree research and work in additive manufacturing in the medical field, focusing on the manufacturing of breast prosthesis.

This only fuelled her amazing journey with selection as one of the 100 entrepreneurs from outside the United States of America (USA) to represent their countries at the Global Entrepreneurship summit, 2016.

Discovery, the financial services group, has recognised her as one of the top Med-Tech entrepreneurs in South Africa. She is also one of the 40 top innovators for 2017, recognised by the Pan-continental Ventures Africa.

To cap it all, she has been awarded the Presidential Award in Science, Innovation and Technology at the recent South African Youth Awards.

Ahead of the upcoming WEF Africa, Nkholise is upbeat, buoyed by the impact the previous edition held in East Africa had on her and her business, Likoebe Innovation Consultants, an enterprise that creates innovative products in the medical and educational sector, currently owning various design patents.

The inspirational woman is also the founder of iMedTech Group, a company that uses additive manufacturing to design breast and facial prostheses for cancer victims and scalds caused by burning.

The holder of a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering Degree holder from Central University of Technology, who is currently pursuing her Masters at Central University of Technology, with focused on applications of Additive Manufacturing in Medicine, is a confirmed participant for WEF Africa 2017.

She will be presenting on factors hindering successful economic transformation of Africa.

Nkholise expands on the theme of the conference, “Driving Economic Transformation in Africa through Inclusive Growth Models.”

“This year’s topic reminds me of a statement that the President of Rwanda (Paul Kagame) made during the previous year’s event in Kigali,” she reminisced.

“He said the biggest development to happen in the world will be in Africa.”

“Our development story is unique because ours is human-centric. We need to develop our people first and give them opportunities to participate in broad development of our continent, particularly in agriculture because we need to create food sustainability for our people so that they don’t become a society that is too depended on hand-outs,” said Nkholise.

Nkholise believes inclusive growth models that would benefit the continent’s growth are those promoting women, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

These, she advocated, must be empowered to play an active role in economic transformation.

“When women are empowered and given opportunities and support to enter, learn, grow and flourish within the growing African economies, generations to come will be transformed,” she said assuredly.

Nkholise also highlighted the importance of involving youth in policy decision making, particularly policies relating to economic transformation she believes is much needed in Africa.

“This generation of young people are the people that can fulfil the mission of ensuring that the (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.”

Meanwhile, Building on the success of last year’s inaugural search that catapulted Nkholise to the spotlight and on the path to innovation stardom, WEF has intensified the process to select the top female tech innovators in Africa ahead of the Durban forum.

These will be invited to share their experience and engage with leaders at the organisation’s regional meeting.

The submission deadline elapsed on April 17.

Any female entrepreneur whose business is less than three years old, uses innovative technology or business models, and has at least one year of revenue generation qualifies to enter.

The business must also be able to demonstrate social and economic potential.

In the period leading to a panel of experts will select the top five next generations of entrepreneurs to participate in the meeting.

Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the WEF, said the continent’s best prospects for inclusive growth lay in its ability to tap into its vast pool of entrepreneurial talent.

“We want Africa’s top female tech entrepreneurs to join us so we can celebrate them as role models and so they can help governments and policymakers create conditions for others to flourish,” said Kanza.

WEF Africa will provide insights from leading experts on how Africa will be affected by the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly in terms of safeguarding the region’s economies from negative disruption and exploiting opportunities for further growth and development.

– CAJ News

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Posted by on May 10 2017. Filed under Exclusive, Featured, Finance, Finance & Banking, Investing, Investing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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