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Student Startups: The Future Of Entrepreneurship In South Africa (CPT)

  • Workshop17 17 Dock Road Cape Town, WC, 8002 South Africa (map)

Student Startups


On the 2nd of May, we're doing something really special. We're lifting the lid on the future, taking a peak under the bonnet of the entrepreneur ecosystem and casting a lens on the scrappy, super-smart students that are changing the world. We've chosen four startups that began in the hallowed halls of some of the top business schools in South Africa and asked their founders to step on the Heavy Chef stage to share their vision for our future.

Alexandria Procter, of DigsConnect, is changing the way we book rooms for student accommodation. Mvelo Hlophe, of Zaio, is changing the way we teach students to code. Xabiso Lombo, of Guardian Gabriel, is changing the way we look at safety through our smartphones. And Tamir Shklaz, of Quillo, is changing the way we buy student books each year.

These four shining lights will present their companies at at Workshop17 in Cape Town. We're especially excited to announce that we'll be joined by world-renowned speaker and educator Professor Don Weiss.

This event is for anyone interested in the future of our economy, and who wants to get an idea of what the next phase of entrepreneurs looks like. It's for curious bystanders, interested onlookers, fringe investors, smart corporates, ambitious entrepreneurs, technophiles, misfits, smarty-pants and skinny chefs alike. What you waiting for? Book your ticket already.

Our Speakers

Alexandria Claire Procter, CEO of DigsConnect is South Africa's largest student accommodation marketplace. is the place where students find their digs, and landlords find their tenants. In just over a year they've grown from being in 1 location, to being in 11, and from having 300 beds listed on our site, to over 50 000.

Alexandria is from the Eastern Cape, and moved to Cape Town to study Biology and Philosophy at UCT. During her third year, she was elected to the Students' Representative Council, and had the portfolio which included off campus housing for students.

It was this experience which led to her start as a way to place UCT students in off campus accommodation that was being offered by landlords looking for student tenants.”

Tamir Shklaz, CEO of Quillo

A final year electrical and computer engineering student at UCT with a passion for banging against a keyboard until something useful pops out. I am passionate about the intersection of tech and education. I plan on dedicating my work towards bringing tertiary education into the 21st century and making it more meaningful and useful to its students. Bonus facts: I am allergic to chicken (no jokes) and was a professional call of duty player.

Quillo is a digital marketplace for second-hand university textbooks. We make it cheaper (on average 70% cheaper) more convenient and safer to buy and sell second-hand textbooks. We currently serve 7500 students with plans to rapidly expand across South Africa. However, in the long run, Quillo is to be more than just a textbook marketplace. We exist to democratize information and resources at university to make it more meaningful. Thus we plan to expand into other business models in order to revolutionize tertiary education in South Africa and Africa.

Mvelo Hlophe, CEO of Zaio

Mvelo Hlophe is currently in final year at UCT studying BCom Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Mvelo is a student entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Zaio which is a platform that helps student developers land their dream job through a gamified process while studying. Students are are upskilled through courses, coding challenges and tasked with real world projects from startups. Mvelo has also co-founder of a security tech company called Rydwith where he now sits as an adviser. "I believe in the power of self-assurance no matter your age or any other circumstance you may find yourself in."

Xabiso Lombo, CEO of Guardian Gabriel

Guardian Gabriel is a wearable, state-of-the-art panic button that operates entirely without the victim’s use of a smartphone. This idea came up in 2017 and our team has been working to bring it into fruition ever since. We are a team of four, with diverse and complementary skills. Harness the power of the community, earn security.

Professor Don Weiss, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Columbia University

Since 1998, Mr. Weiss has been Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is the owner of Boright Realty and W & B Holdings, commercial real estate firms and of White Home Products, a manufacturer of residential storage systems. He is Chairman of ShareSafe Solutions, a software company. From 1970 to 1996, he was the owner and CEO of White Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of automated retrieval systems. Prior to 1970, he spent four years as Assistant to the President of Hazeltine Corporation, now a division of Emerson Electric. Mr. Weiss has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University (1965) and an MBA from Columbia University (1967). Mr. Weiss was selected as “NJ Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year” by the American Institute of Entrepreneurs. He was also selected as “Manufacturing Business Leader of the Year. He was awarded the “”1993 Botwinick Prize for Business Ethics” by the Columbia Business School and was featured on the cover of INC. Magazine in November 1993. He serves on the boards of Sharesafe Solutions and Triangle Services and is active in the World Presidents Organization. He resides in Manhattan and East Hampton, NY with his wife Alison. They have a son, Eric and a daughter, Danna.


NOTE: Students pay only R50 with the promo code: STUDENTCHEF

Tickets include entrance to the venue, complimentary Backsberg wine, Sir Fruit juice and Joe&Co snacks.