As a chartered accountant and equity analyst, Nonhlakanipho (Nipho) Msibi was set for a comfortable life in corporate but she was determined to live a life of service. She hails from Soweto, and her upbringing instilled in her a passion for economic and social development and a desire to empower the youth in her community. Her list of awards and degrees is an enviable testament to her professional skills and commitment to economic advancement. She is an ardent believer in leveraging private capital for public good, and she was awarded the prestigious African Women in Public Service Fellowship by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation two years ago to study towards a master’s degree at New York University.
Her vision of being a change agent dates to her undergraduate studies at the University of Johannesburg. Msibi started her non-profit organization, Keynetics, to equip the youth in disadvantaged communities with entrepreneurial and life skills. She interacted with many people in communities who did not know about the various degrees they could study at university. Through Keynetics she was honoured with the Abe Bailey Travel Award to England, for her strong leadership qualities and service ethic. She also represented South Africa in Belgium at the European Parliament, addressing 300 global leaders on issues affecting the youth in South Africa.
Msibi weaves her background and personal story of climbing the corporate ladder into her dream of empowering others. She brings a unique perspective to the social development space, combining her experience and skill set of working in the private sector with that of running her own non-profit organisation.
She was selected to participate in the StartingBloc Institute in New York. The organisation brings together change leaders and social innovators from across the world for an intensive training program in social innovation, lean prototyping, design thinking, and lean-launching startups. Msibi laughingly recounts that the most difficult part of adjusting to life in the Big Apple was the weather — freezing cold winters and snow, which made her long for home.
While currently based in New York, Msibi remains committed to South Africa, with plans to continue to improve and empower lives through various impact investments. She is a co-founder of a technology start-up called AstroFarm, an agritech start-up based in the US and in South Africa that is helping farmers farm better by providing them with the technological tools to help them increase their yield, lower risks and optimise their resources.