USB Lion's Den 2019

Wed Nov 20, 14:00 - Wed Nov 20, 17:00
University of Stellenbosch Business School

Date: Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Time: 14:00 – 16:30

Venue: USB campus (livestream also available)

Let’s work to bring business ideas to life

Lion’s Den was created in 2018 to connect the impressive network of entrepreneurs and organisations surrounding USB.

Witness true entrepreneurship in action

At Lion’s Den, USB entrepreneurs get the chance to pitch their business ideas in the den to a panel of investors - our lions. Contestants have gained exposure to pitch coaching through insights from an experienced Venturepreneur, and stand a chance to receive business development incentives for best pitch.

Incentives on offer (confirmed at the time of publishing):

  • 3-month mentorship with investors at Stocks & Strauss
  • 6-month membership to the LaunchLab Startup incubation programme
  • 3-month legal incubation programme with O'Reilly Law
  • 12-month Start-up service package and 6-month strategy & finance packages with House of Growth
  • Access to startup incubation resources with LaunchLab
  • Access to workshops, independent financial advice and coaching consultations with PPS Financial Services
  • An opportunity for investment from Lions on the panel and in the audience*

Join us to gain incredible insight into the structure of a pitch and what investors look for.


14:00  Opening with MC Daniel Strauss (Co-founder and Director: Stocks & Strauss, Venturepreneur) and Prof Piet Naudé (Director: USB)

14:20  Keynote address: Anita Nel (CEO and Chief Director: Innovus) - The purpose behind one of the leading university technology transfer offices in Africa

14:40  Guest speaker: Darlene Menzies (CEO: FinFind) - What it takes to grow your business in South Africa

15:00  Lions’ Den begins: finalists pitch their business to a panel of investors

16:30  Refreshments @ networking space & Lions make final decision on pitches

16:45  Best pitch announced @ networking space

Have any questions?

Contact our event coordinator:

Danielle Radloff

Career Leadership Officer

[email protected]

*Investors & Lion's Den participants are advised to liaise with our investor panel convener prior to entering any formal agreements on investment offers.

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MC, Investment Coach to participants, Investor Panel Convener: D'Niel Strauss
Venturepreneur, Co-founder and Director of Stocks & Strauss (Pty) Ltd
D'Niel is a strategic leader with experience in the private equity and venture capital industries over the past 7 years. He has lectured and presented to large groups of people at various events and conferences in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and South Africa, which include lectures at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch respectively. He is a co-founder and director of Stocks & Strauss (Pty) Ltd, and has been involved in the direct and indirect investments of more than 30 companies. Stocks & Strauss has recently grown the turnover of one of their portfolio companies by 9x within a 12-month period.
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Keynote speaker: Anita Nel
Chief Executive Officer, InnovUS, Stellenbosch University
Ms Anita Nel is a chief executive officer at Innovus, Office of Technology Transfer at the University of Stellenbosch. She is a former investment manager at a venture capital company, she has served on the boards of various young companies in different technology-based fields. She started out her career as a maths teacher, and went on to manage a socially responsible investment fund and a small research company. With vast experience in human resources, marketing, negotiations, strategy and general management, Anita is well equipped to understand entrepreneurship and the many challenges facing start-up companies. 

Anita holds a BSc (Physics) degree and MSc (Psychology) degree as well as an HED.

Experiencing weightlessness during a parabolic flight in an Ilyushin Il-76 jet outside Moscow (after witnessing a blast-off of a Soyuz spacecraft at Baikonur in Khazakstan) is one of the most extraordinary experiences of her life so far. When she is not at work, Anita adores her two daughters and loves travelling with her family to interesting places.
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Guest Speaker: Darlene Menzies
Chief Executive Officer: Finfind (Pty) Ltd
World Economic Forum's 2017 Five Top Female Tech Entrepreneurs in Africa

Darlene is a technology innovator and serial entrepreneur with 15 years’ corporate ICT experience in the banking sector. Darlene is the founder of Finfind, South Africa’s leading online SME access to finance solution, recently white-labelled by sefa to manage their direct lending requests, and the award-winning small business cloud accounting system SMEasy, currently being rolled out in Africa by MTN, branded as MTN EasyAccounting. 

Darlene has raised more than R40m in early-stage funding from multiple venture capital companies to develop and commercialise disruptive innovations that address SME market gaps in Africa. She has won a South African Innovation Entrepreneur award, the Country Award for Best Business Product at the 2013 World Summit Awards, and Nokia’s Global Judges’ Choice Award (top 10, from 85 countries and 1700 systems). Zurich-based STARS Group has identified her a future Global Leader. 

Darlene is a public speaker, media spokesperson and recognised expert on the SME sector. She is quoted in the national press on matters of entrepreneurship, small business development and innovation.
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Shukri Toefy
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Founders: Tanya Wantenaar (MBA student), Gerrard Smith
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Imvomvo Powerhouse
Founder: Sisanda Mqwebedu (MBA alumni)
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Lexa App (Pty) Ltd
Founders: Ben Groot (MBA alumni)
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Founders: Gerrit de Villiers (MBA alumni), Gerhard Landman (MBA alumni)
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Founders: Ropetra Van Nelson (MBA alumni), Sias Fouche (MBA alumni)
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Wood Flavour Innovations
Founders: Dirk Van den Berg (MBA student) 

Additional information

Refund policy No refunds


USB Lion's Den 2019
University of Stellenbosch Business School
Carl Cronje Dr, Bellville, Cape Town, 7530, South Africa
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