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Ellen Fischat has stepped down as managing director of Silicon Cape, while another long standing member of the organisation’s leadership team, director and board member Alexandra Fraser has also resigned.
Fraser said the two resignations are unrelated.
In a phone call earlier today, Fischat (pictured above) confirmed that she had resigned from the organisation on Monday (5 February).
She said she had taken the decision to pursue “a few other opportunities” and that she would be staying in the local tech innovation space.
Fischat joined the organisation in May last year, becoming Silicon Cape’s first permanent managing director.
She said the highlight of her tenure of as head of Silicon Cape has been getting to know the local tech ecosystem, facilitating collaboration with other organisations like Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn and making inroads into townships.
Ellen Fischat joined Silicon Cape as managing director last year in May
With her at the helm of the organisation, Silicon Cape in collaboration with global aerospace accelerator Airbus Bizlab held a pitching event which culminated in a Cape Town-based startup, Cargonaught, winning a trip to France and Germany to meet with members of the aviation company.
Shortly after the pitching event, Silicon Cape partnered with La French Tech to host the inaugural two day-long AfricArena Tech Conference.
These events, she said, had been “absolute highlights”.
Silicon Cape chairperson Sumarie Roodt said the organisation is in the process of selecting an interim manager with experience in project management in non-profits, and that the nominee would be announced “very soon”.
Roodt said the recruitment process for the next managing director would begin next week
“Uplifting people and giving them opportunities, that’s what an ecosystem is supposed to be about,” she said.
She said she would soon be leaving for the US to participate in the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) where she will focus on women, tech and innovation in Africa.
She hinted that on her return she will launch an initiative aimed at the township economy and the inclusion of women in tech innovation.
In a phone call, Fraser (pictured above) confirmed her resignation as board member and director, effective from Monday (5 February).
She has served in a volunteer capacity with the organisation, holding various roles, including chairperson since 2010.
She said her reason for resigning was to focus on her own business, Fraser Consulting, as well as to support the growth of other startup ecosystems across the continent through her work with the World Bank, the XL Africa Programme and mLab Southern Africa.
Fraser said highlights of the time at Silicon Cape include speaking at Google Big Tent in Johannesburg in 2013, meeting inventor Vint Cerf, raising funding for Silicon Cape from FNB and representing Silicon Cape in Germany, Singapore, Japan and the US on trade delegations.
She was also involved in writing and publishing the Silicon Cape PWC Emerging Companies Survey and worked with SAVCA, Simodisa and Webber Wentzel to change legislation.
She recently participated in the creation of material marketing Cape Town as a global startup ecosystem with Wesgro and the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative.
Fraser said as Silicon Cape is a community-based organisation, “she looks forward to seeing new people and energy stepping up to lead and shape the ecosystem”.