Founders Conference 2021

We hosted our annual flagship event in November 2021 for the 4th consecutive year.

The MC for this event,  Louw Barnard, co-founder and director of CFO, welcomes everyone to the 2021 Founder’s Conference, held virtually. This conference  is the South African-based event of Global Entrepreneurship week  held internationally in over 200 countries. Louw explains the various platforms and events that the local chapter of the  Founders Conference offers throughout the year. He explains that the conference will take the form of individual interviews as well as panel discussions around topics relevant to the entrepreneurial space.

The first speaker is Louw Barnard talking about the history of OCFO, and how he and his team identified a need for accountants in the entrepreneurial environment, then went about building and scaling OCFO to where it is today.

Louw then shares some life lessons that he has learned as a founder and entrepreneur.

  1. The importance of the right co-founders
  2. Vision and values must be alive within the organisation
  3. Strategy and rhythms are crucial
  4. Add value rather than pushing product
  5. Don’t sell - listen
  6. Structures set you free
  7. Keep an eye on cash-flow
  8. Business is all about people
  9. Think big
  10. Don’t burn out

The next speaker is Yvonne Wakefield,  founder and   CEO of  Caveat Legal whose topic is keeping  a balance and surviving as an individual 

Yvonne has worked out 3 principles for  life design and managing her workload to create a work/life balance.

1 Simplicity - strip off the non-essentials

2  Design - for efficiency and freedom

3 Consistency - positive change comes from repeated and ongoing applications of the same principles.

She concludes with examples from her own life, and says that all these actions compound to add value over time.


Gabor Beyer, BTO Management Consulting  AG, talks about the history of his company,  from startup to exit. 

Gabor talks about the inspiration to be a market leader in the sector of alternative fuel and bio-energy in Germany, and  traces the growth,development and possible expansion opportunities of his company. He concludes with remarks on having an exit strategy in place, and stresses that  your team is the most important asset you have, and that you should be prepared to fight for your dream and your company


Panel Discussion around Building scalable cloud infrastructure with the following speakers:

Damian Baker - head cloud accounting manager

Timothy Molteno  - MD of intembeko investment administrators

Adian Casserley - CEO Castle Rock managed IT services

Christie Fourie - Integrations Consultant at Integrate

Speakers introduce themselves and discuss the importance of automating accounting software and  implementing cloud software when building a startup.

The importance of cloud access was emphasised during the pandemic lockdown, when many companies had to scramble to move online.


Dustin Graham - Exit trends for 2021 - managing partner at Benchmark International

Dustin says that the M&A sector thrives during times of volatility, such as the recent international lockdown. He is seeing an uptick in deals and he urges business owners to be deal-ready.


Martin van Eeden - CEO of imagine better  on Leading yourself before leading others

Martin shares three overarching concepts that can serve as a guide to reaching your goals.

  1. Our choices and reactions matter
  2. What story do you tell yourself - is it a story of success or failure
  3. Write your new story to change your life


Max Havemann - Assistant global controller at Impact: Managing finance for growth in a mid-sized operation

Max shares pointers on how to get your finance team ready for growth, by concentrating on personal assets, systems thinking  and implementing automation.


Dr Yaseem Kahn -  Co-founder and CEO of Emguidance: A doctor’s notes on raising tech startup finance

Yaseem is an entrepreneur in the space of medtech and healthtech startups in Africa, and  he talks about the change in mindset it took from being a doctor to becoming an entrepreneur.


Panel Discussion : Drumming up new business in 2022 

Panel members discuss the various ways in which business has adapted to the changes in the entrepreneurial space post Covid-19 following lockdowns, and share personal tips from their business journeys on how to connect & sell.

Uwais Asmal -  Executive Head of advisory services  at CEO

Daniel Greaves - Founder and CEO at Fueltofly

Felix Norton - MD of Woww


Zach George, MD of Launch Africa Ventures: Funding early-stage startups in Africa

Zach specialises in fundraising, and shares expertise on creating an environment which would support startup financing at an earlier stage of scaling than is currently the case.

Ed O’reilly, Founder and COO of Nana: Building Virtual teams

Ed and his team experimented  with going virtual a few years ago, and  he shares his experience on taking your team and company to the virtual space. He also talks about the pros and cons of virtual vs hybrid work, and the challenges of  keeping a coherent team under all conditions. 

Daniel Goldberg, co-founder of Bridgement: Building Virtual teams 

Daniel  talks about ways in which to keep communication going within a company structure that has gone fully virtual.  He emphasises the importance of using a variety  of tools to communicate and stay in touch, and concludes that it is all about the personal connection at the end of the day. 

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