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Grove's Innovators’ Club made waves in 2017

The Grove Innovators’ Club had a bustling year with seven exclusive meetups in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where thought leaders had the opportunity to rub shoulders with trendsetters and out-of-the-box thinkers.

Our guest innovators covered an array of hot and newsworthy topics and, apart from the excellent networking that always happens at Innovators’ Club meet-ups, the exposure to fresh perspectives left those who attended inspired.

Grove Innovators’ Club even made an impact overseas when we launched the first such meet-up for people with a passion for technology, innovation and social change in Kingston Jamaica.

Some of the big name speakers in 2017 included: rugby legend, Jean de Villiers; digital marketing guru, Chris Rawlinson; businesswoman, Matsi Modise; and blockchain & cryptocurrency expert, Sonya Kuhnel.

At the Grove Innovators’ Club event held at Citadel Claremont in Cape Town in June, Jean used the obstacles he had to overcome in his illustrious career as a Springbok star to illustrate how he had to adjust his attitude to learn from setbacks. “Adversity for me was such a crucial thing in my career,” Jean said. “I have learnt so much through those hard times. And I think it’s so important to learn from the defeats, the failures and mistakes. It is your attitude in challenging situations that will determine if you will be successful or not,” Jean stressed. “Innovation is the ability to change, to constantly strive to be better.”

In October, Sonya Kuhnel, one of South Africa’s foremost experts on the digital currencies industry and the bitcoin craze, shared insights and tips with fellow thought leaders at the Grove Innovators’ Club event held at the Cape Milner.

Sonya addressed some of the myths and hype surrounding Bitcoin and she provided compelling arguments for her faith in blockchain technology.

“The technology is contributing to a whole new world, not only for big companies but for individuals as well,” Sonya said. “Blockchain can create jobs and it has so many amazing possibilities. It is solid and super secure because of its decentralised distributed nature. Like with any emerging technology there will be teething problems such as scaling issues. This technology is in its infancy, the problems will be sorted out.”

At the final Grove Innovators’ Club meeting of 2017, held at the Maslow Hotel Lacuna Bar & Deck in Johannesburg in November, broadcaster and entrepreneur, Andile Masuku, showed what it means to disrupt the status quo in the African context. He stressed the importance of owning our own stories and experiences in Africa. “We shouldn’t allow Silicon Valley and the major tech companies to set the agenda for our ecosystems,” Andile said. “Nobody can represent our interests on the global stage the way we can. We own the context. What technology has allowed me to do is to navigate the world with confidence and to assume an agenda-setting mandate - to signal to other people what is important.”

If you want to hear more from Andile, listen to the African Tech Round-up podcasts on Soundcloud. In this conversation with Andile Masuku - taped at the fringes of African Angel Investor Summit 2017 ( - Khaled relates how he went from being a career technologist to founding seven tech ventures since 1991 (including a 4G mobile tech firm which was acquired by Intel) before accidentally falling into structured angel funding activities.

You can watch the recap videos for guest innovators, Jean de Villiers, Sonya Kuhnel and Andile Masuku on the video section of our website here.

Throughout the year, we received excellent feedback from our Grove customers at the Grove Innovators’ Club meet-ups. Rupert Swanepoel, Kromco IT Manager, said he enjoys the social aspect of the Grove Innovators’ Club meetups. “Grove has a knack to get people with diverse insights and innovative ideas together. I always get something from these meetings.”

A big fan of the Grove Innovators’ Club, Bernice Van Leeuwen, Group ICT & Project Manager of Natsure, said the success of these events is that it’s not limited to industry-specific sectors. “It isn’t about hearing yet another sales pitch,” Bernice said. “It is quite simply like-minded individuals sharing ideas and collaborating innovation. I believe that it is concept events like these that will help us broaden our perspectives, cross our mental innovation barriers and take our businesses and industries well into this digital revolution.”

We wish all our fellow innovators and disruptors a peaceful and happy festive season. Thank you again for investing your time with us this year and look out for our 2018 Guest Innovator line-up early in January.

Together, let's challenge the status quo. Find out how Grove's best-of-breed technology solutions can assist you in innovation. Contact us today.
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2017 guest innovator’s were:

  • Andrea Böhmert - Partner at Knife Capital, hosted at Winchester Mansion (in CT on 2nd Feb 2017)
  • Matsi Modise - Managing Director at SimodiSA, hosted at Bolton Road Collection (in JHB on 1st March 2017)

  • Chris Rawlinson - Founder at, hosted at Premier Hotel Cape Manor (in CT on 30th March 2017)

  • Jean de Villiers - Head of Philanthropy at Citadel, hosted at Citadel (in CT on 1st June 2017)

  • Miles Kubheka - Founder at Vuyo’s, hosted at MESH Club (in JHB on 8th June 2017)

  • Sheldon Powe & Stacey Hines hosted at CRU (in Kingston, Jamaica on 1st Sept 2017)

  • Sonya Kuhnel - Founder at Blockchain Academy, hosted at The Cape Milner (in CT on 12th Oct 2017)

  • Andile Masuku - Entrepreneur and Broadcaster, hosted at Lacuna Bar & Deck, Maslow Hotel (in JHB on 8th Nov 2017)

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