Silicon Cape appoints first full-time MD

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Western Cape startup support ecosystem Silicon Cape has appointed its first permanent managing director (MD) as it moves away from being a predominantly volunteer-driven organisation.

The new MD is Ellen Fischat, who moves to Cape Town from Port Elizabeth where she had been business support manager at the Propella Business Incubator.

Founded in 2009 by investor Justin Stanford and entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, Silicon Cape raised more than ZAR3 million (US$270,000) in funding from South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) in late 2014.

This started a process of professionalisation of the organisation, which also saw the appointment of Nozuko Poni as marketing and project coordinator in March.

Silicon Cape said the appointment of Fischat was another critical step in bringing structure and focus to the initiative, which has big plans for the next two years as it looks to meet its mandate of creating a strong, vibrant and diverse tech ecosystem in the Western Cape.

“There were many applications for the role and while there were a number of very strong candidates the selection committee was struck by Ellen’s public private partnership and fundraising experience, which will massively assist Silicon Cape in achieving its goals,” said Silicon Cape chair Dan Guasco.  

“This and her fresh perspective on the local ecosystem, balanced against her enthusiasm for tech in the Western Cape, made Ellen the right choice for us.”

Fischat holds an Honours degree in Social Work and Community Development, and has extensive experience in small business development. She will officially join Silicon Cape on Monday, May 8.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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