Alexandra Fraser

Chairperson, Silicon Cape Initiative

Alexandra Fraser is a passionate grower – partly in her garden, but mostly as chairperson of the Silicon Cape Initiative that supports the local entrepreneur and startup scene. In case you’re wondering, she says gardening has a much higher success rate because the odds are not stacked nearly as high in the garden as they are against the challenge of nurturing a new venture.

Which is not to say she is daunted by the challenge of building South African enterprises. As proof of this, she has ventured out on her own from June this year, leaving the security of her job at local venture capital firm Invenfin.

Her new consultancy Stone Tree will focus on helping venture capitalists and funders evaluate potential investments while simultaneously supporting the entrepreneur community.

Over the past decade she has seen and evaluated more than 4 000 businesses, so she is more than qualified to drive growth of the local startup and early-stage venture capital community.

Fraser completed a master’s degree in international business and emerging markets at the University of Edinburgh on a Chevening Scholarship. Her dissertation on the barriers to deal flow in the South African venture capital industry was the perfect grounding for her subsequent work assessing, supporting and growing the local industry.

She says she will be using her newfound freedom to help grow and build Silicon Cape into a more fully resourced organisation with the ability to better support the local entrepreneurial and venture capital scene.

Fraser describes herself as a creator and builder of communities and will feel fulfilled if she can sit back one day in the knowledge that she has helped establish a vibrant entrepreneurial environment that produces sustainable enterprises providing opportunities and employment.

Fraser clearly deserves the recognition for her passion and nurturing nature in a sector desperate for a committed, young catalyst. — Johann Barnard