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November 2018 Meeting
November 1, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 10:30 am
Topic: The Roller coaster Ride
From the mind-numbing lows of multiple business liquidations, to the exhilarating highs of raising millions of Rands in Venture Capital, and developing innovative solutions to solve challenges for global markets, Darlene’s entrepreneurial journey is a wild roller coaster ride jam packed with many stories and lessons. Join us, fasten your seatbelts, and enjoy the ride!
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Guest Speaker: Darlene Menzies
The World Economic Forum named Darlene Menzies one of 6 Top Female Tech Breakthrough Entrepreneurs in Africa for 2017. She is a technology innovator and serial entrepreneur with 15 years’ corporate IT experience with ABSA Bank and ICT outsource giant BCX.
Since leaving corporate employment in 2001, she has established several successful technology businesses and has firsthand experience in what it takes to start and grow a successful enterprise and understands the difficulties entrepreneurs have to overcome to do so.
Darlene has used this experience to develop numerous easy-to-use digital solutions that address large gaps in the start-up and SME market. Two of these include:
- The award-winning small business accounting system SMEasy, currently being rolled out across Africa by MTN (the continent’s largest telecommunications network provider).
- Finfind, South Africa’s leading online SME access to finance solution, which is sponsored and supported by the Department of Small Business Development, USAID, Business Leadership SA, the Banking Association of South Africa and the SA SME Fund.
She has successfully raised more than R35m in early stage funding from nine Venture Capitalists to develop and commercialise disruptive innovations.
Darlene was awarded a South Africa Innovation Entrepreneur Award and was a top five Finalist for SA ICT Person of the Year alongside the MD’s of Microsoft and EOH. One of her Fintech solutions won the Country Award for Best Business Product at the 2013 World Summit Awards and a mobile innovations won Nokia’s Global Judges Choice Award (top 10 from 85 countries 1700 systems). She has also been identified by Zurich-based STARS Group as a future Global Leader.
She is a public speaker and a media spokesperson and recognised expert on the SME sector. Darlene is quoted in the national press on matters of entrepreneurship, small business development, innovation and disruptive technology.