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Leon Lourens is an accomplished business management professional and consultant with more than 28 years of experience providing ICT incubator management, development and training for small business and foreign government organizations. He is a founder and CEO and Director of an ICT incubator Softstart Business Technology Incubator outside of Johannesburg. He is also a founding member of the South African Business and Technology Incubation Association and the African Incubator Network and serves as its Chairman.
An industrial engineer, Leon developed an Incubation Knowledge Management System for the South African Small Enterprise Development Agency (Sedan) and structured the functional specifications for the internationally acclaimed Avnon Incubator Manager Portal.
Leon is recognized as a leading incubation expert worldwide. The list of his many accomplishments is extensive:
- African Incubator Network infoDev project leader in Africa (RSA, Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia) and Brazil. (2003-10).
- Presented at conferences in RSA, USA, India, China and Armenia.
- Exploratory study on Small Business development and entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone for SPARK.
- Incubation programme review for Ethiopian Government.
- Incubation training for stakeholders and incubator manager in Ethiopia.
- Developed SME training material and incubation management training and capacity building material in electronic format, including streaming thereof.
- Facilitated, organized and led training workshops in South Africa and Mauritius with delegates from all over Africa; project workshops in Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, India and Brazil.
- Moderated meetings including India-Brazil-SA conference on technology development for small enterprise.
- Frequent guest lecturer at various universities on Entrepreneurship and incubation. External examiner for post graduate studies on Technology Commercialization at Pretoria University.
- Hosted and facilitated training sessions for the South African Small Enterprise Development Agency (Sedan), African Incubator Network (AIN), the
Southern African Business & Technology Incubator Association (SABTIA), including Mauritius and SABTIA conference in 2008 and Ethiopian ICT Development Agency.
- Third party case studies on South Africa and Brazil for InfoDev and incubation and small business development studies in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.
- Developed, published and maintained AIN, SBTI and SABTIA websites, including knowledge management tools for these organizations.
- Project leader on InfoDev Project-African Incubator Network.
- Member of Small Business Development team for IBSA (India Brazil, South Africa) initiative.
Leon continues pursuing his passion for nature and the outdoors. Finally, after four years, the 3000ha Buffelskloof Eco-Reserve has been approved for development.
Leon has an engineering degree and an entrepreneurship and small business management(dissertation pending) degreefrom the University of Pretoria.