Meet the team
ACT in Africa is a holistic entrepreneurship organisation that provides design thinking and business training, coaching, acceleration, and access to seed funding.
Our program integrates global best practices in entrepreneurship training and local experience to provide a unique and relevant platform to aspiring entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe.
The ACT team is comprised of diverse and dynamic individuals from around the globe. The team and its advisors have years of experience in Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Programs and Operations
For the past 10 years, Henri has been investing in and advising start-ups that seek to solve the issues of water scarcity and access to education. As a result, he has first-hand experience in the practical application of human-centred design, design-lead business model innovation, branding, operational scalability, and strategy. Over the years, he has assisted executive teams formulate product development strategies, advised on product success metrics, set up processes for scale, structured human resource processes, and negotiated investment and M&A agreements.
In 2013, while exploring the nexus between water and agriculture in Africa, Henri identified entrepreneurship training in Africa as an opportunity to create positive change and decided to use all the knowledge he had gained by observing and backing entrepreneurs to launch ACT in Africa. Using human-centred design as a development approach as well as a cornerstone of ACT’s curricula, Henri lead the design, development, and implementation of ACT’s entrepreneurship program and HCD Research Training program.
Aside from managing ACT, Henri is a board director at WaterSmart Software Inc., which is responsible for saving billions of litres of water in US cities, and an observer on the board of AquaSpy Inc., which has accomplished the same goal for US farmers. He is also invested in a dozen of EdTech start-ups, is an advisor to Watobe, a company developing an educational mobile app for high school students in South Africa and Kenya, and to MPA Education, a small investment firm based in London focusing on the future of work.
In his free time, Henri supports MQ Health, a charity focusing on mental health in the UK, participates in Salsa congresses around the world, and is learning how to surf.
Irene is the Operations Director for the ACT Entrepreneurship Program. Over the past 5 years Irene has been working in the entrepreneurship and innovation space on a number of projects. Her project portfolio has included the Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, Innovation Baraza, Startup Weekend Harare and the Global Startup Battle. Her postgraduate studies at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden were grounded in the areas of innovation and sustainability. She is also a Mandela Washington Fellow that was based at Northwestern University in Chicago
Irene has co-authored two research papers with one focusing on Social Entrepreneurship and another on Innovation Value Chains in the Telecommunications Sector. Her previous work experience has included time at Ericsson, USADF, Udugu Institute and OK Zimbabwe. Irene was part of the MWF Regional Advisory Board for USAID and is currently on the UNISA YALI Regional Leadership Center Advisory Board.
Fine Ruvimbo Kashawu
Community and Research
Fine is the Community and Research Manager at ACT in Africa. With more than 3 years of programming and planning experience in both the private and public sectors, Fine has a strong grounding in research with emphasis on human-centred design research and strategy development. She is a 2015 DAAD Scholar at the University of Botswana where she carried out her post-graduate degree specializing in public policy and administration.
Fine has worked previously with public sector organizations and NGOs in the development community and harnessed skills to collaborate, nature and quality relationships with stakeholders and partners.