Q & A with Obami Founder and CEO, Barbara Mallinson


Barbara Mallinson is the Founder and CEO of Obami – a social learning platform that’s been recognised by the likes of Forbes, CNN and Business Insider as one of the most innovative technologies in the world, as well as one of best start ups to come out of Africa.

Branded an IT Hero, as well as one of Cape Town’s top 10 Women in Business, by the Cape IT Initiative, she’s also been recognised by UNESCO Courier as one of 21 young people changing the world, while the likes of IT Web Africa, CNN, Forbes and the Financial Mail, identified her as one of the top entrepreneurs and African women in business.

Mallinson was identified as one of the Mail & Guardian’s “Top 200 Young People to Take to Lunch” and Kinetic has had the privilege of working with her and hearing her industry insights during the build up to the Business Tech Show. During a recent Q & A session, Barbara had the following to say;
“… [I am] a lover of Africa and all things that lead to disruption… I’m incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship, and have had the good fortune of being recognised for the work that I’ve done within the fields of technology and education.”

What are the major trends at the moment in the industry?

“The Internet of Things, big data (still), web scaling models and (I hope we’ll see more of it) intrapreneurship”

Why did you become involved in the Business Tech Show?

“…I suppose being a woman in tech, and having experience in starting a business from scratch adds a different perspective to the male dominated panels we’re so used to seeing at conferences. Naturally, I was keen to play a part in what looks to be a great event so it was easy for me to commit. I’ve since been liaising with them around speakers, format and content.”

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the event?

“Everyone – the line up looks that good! But must admit, I’m pretty keen to hear what Vincent Maher has to say since leaving Mxit and joining Kagiso Media.”

What are you looking forward to at the event?

“Besides there being a great line up of speakers, and what promises to be great networking, I’m quite keen to see what the 24 hour CodeFest spurns out – bound to be some pretty innovative stuff that shows just how talented us South Africans are.”

Why is this event important in the industry?

“We simply don’t have enough big tech shows in South Africa. There’s such a huge emphasis placed on the start-up scene, with small events and workshops dotted around the country almost every week, but we don’t often see the big players coming to the table and discussing relevant industry topics. I think there are a lot of lessons they could learn from “start-up culture”, and I believe an event like this is the right place to start fostering that potential.”

What are you expecting to come out of the event, what questions are you expecting to be brought up and answered?

I’m pretty certain I’ll leave the event feeling energized. The format has been perfectly setup to stimulate discussion and challenge preconceptions across both small and large organisations. If there’s anything I need to know about today and tomorrow’s tech (here in SA and abroad), I’m bound to get answers there.”

What is your advice for professionals in the industry who are interested in attending the event?

“I reckon it’s going to be well worth attending the BTS. There’s something for everyone – from the budding entrepreneur to the blue-chip CEO. A lot of careful consideration has been put into planning this event and the format and line up of speakers will ensure that the industry’s most important and interesting topics are covered in the best possible way. It’d be a shame to miss out.”

The Business Technology Show takes place 28 – 29 October 2015 at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.

For more information on the event, to register to attend or to sponsor, visit www.businesstech-show.com or email Marcia van Jaarsveld at marcia@kineticevents.net or call +27 21 180 4700.

Follow the event and stay up to date on Twitter @BTechShow and join in on the conversation using #BTechShow.


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