Africa Social Enterprise Forum 2009

Expert On-the-Spot Advice

Seeking expert advice for your social venture or idea?  Go on an ASEF Speed Mentoring date. Schedule a 10-minute appointment in the Enterprise Lounge with an experienced professional and get real-time feedback.  Speed mentoring will be available 10:00AM to 11:30AM and 12:45PM to 2:00PM.  Please email [email protected] to schedule an appointment with one of our mentors. 

Diana Ayton-Shenker, Founding President & CEO, Fast Forward Fund (FFF)

FFF Founder, Diana Ayton-Shenker is Sr. Fellow at Bard College's Globalization and International Affairs Program. She previously taught at, among others, Hunter College, where she directed the first U.S. undergraduate human rights program.  Ms. Ayton-Shenker brings decades of work with philanthropy, the UN and high-impact global social entrepreneurship. She has held sr positions with Mercy Corps, PEN, Human Rights Watch and served on international, national and local nonprofit boards. Ms. Ayton-Shenker holds an LLM from the University of Essex Law School.

Amini Kajunju, Executive Director, Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO)

Amini has raised the profile of one of the most respected entrepreneurial programs nationwide, WIBO. She and her team train, educate and inspire 500 enrollees annually.  She has also served as a Judge for the Brooklyn Public Library PowerUP! Business Plan Competition and the NYC Commission on Women's Issues Small Business Award. She is a Board Member of AngelAfrica and was Team Leader for the William H. Clinton Foundation Small Business Initiatives. Amini is the recipient of the Network Journal Magazine's "40 Under 40" Achievement Award.

William Guyster, Founder, Good Morning Africa

William founded Good Morning Africa (GMA) in 2006 with a mind for business and a heart for Africa. Prior to GMA, William spent 15+ years in the fields of disaster recovery, small business development, financial management, HIV/AIDS education, and African development and for institutions as varied as Calyon Bank, The World Bank, USDA, American Red Cross and UN doCip. William has submitted work for dissemination at the UN, Columbia University and The World Bank among others.  He earned his B.A from Columbia University in International Relations.

Benjamin Stone, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Indego Africa

After a year editing manuscripts at The Astrophysical Journal at the University of Chicago Press, Ben completed his law degree at New York University in 2004.  Ben practiced law in New York City for four years, focusing on complex commercial litigation at Orrickm, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. In September 2008, with Orrick's support, Ben moved to Indego Africa full time as Senior VP & General Counsel. Indego Africa is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers women in Rwanda to lift themselves out of poverty through fair trade handicrafts and job skills. 

Bhavika D. Vyas, Co-Founding Partner, Velocitas Partners

Prior to founding Velocitas Partners, Bhavika built a decade-long career in asset management and investment banking. As Portfolio Manager at Acumen Fund, she sourced and completed development projects in Asia and Africa. In 2007, Bhavika was named Vice President at Siguler Guff & Company, a multi-strategy private equity investment firm, where she oversaw the firm’s US$4 billion Distressed Funds. At Siguler, Ms. Vyas managed client relationships and fund-raised for the firm’s third and largest $2.4 billion distressed fund. Bhavika began her career in finance as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs and has also worked for Bain Capital and J.P. Morgan.  She earned her M.B.A. from Stanford University.

Media Partners

The first Africa Social Enterprise Forum will be held in New York City at the landmark Desmond Tutu Center.  We are cognizant of our unique geographic location--at the epicenter of cross-cultural innovation in a city without borders or gates, a city that not only claims luminaries such as Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu as citizens, but also a city that honors such trailblazers.  Even still, we are in New York and New York is not in Africa.  To open our conversation to Africans in Africa as well as those scattered throughout the diaspora, ASEF is proud to partner with visionary artists and organizations, who will capture the essence of the Africa Social Enterprise Forum and make it available to all through viral online media.  Select panels will be live-streamed throughout the day, please follow this link to

Annie Escobar, Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship, NYU

Annie is a Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship and Martin Luther King Scholar at NYU, where she is a junior. Annie is originally from Sacramento, California and is one of ten children. Over the past three years, Annie has created photographic projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Peru, Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Costa Rica. After graduation, Annie hopes to work in developing education in refugee camps. No matter where she ends up, Annie hopes to use photography for activism, linking photographic storytelling with real material change.

Katrina Heppler, Founder,

Katrina founded to create a multimedia site that provides inspiration to viewers, while simultaneously helping visionaries to leverage media for positive social change. Katrina has provided strategic consulting to independent professionals and corporate teams in social media and video production. Her speaking engagements have included training sessions on blogging/social media. Katrina serves on the Advisory Board of YouthAssets. Katrina holds an M.A from University of California San Diego.

Idil Ibrahim, Director & Producer, Zeila Films

Actress and Filmmaker Idil Ibrahim is Director and Producer for Zeila Films.  She has served as Associate Producer on the feature documentary Americana, directed by Topaz Adizes, which was an official selection of the 2009 Cinéma du Réel Festival at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France. Idil also served as Associate Producer on the film Trece Años, which was an official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. As an actress, she has performed in independent film productions, commercial work, as well as off-off Broadway plays. Idil holds a B.A from UC Berkeley and is currently a Nadine Abergel Arts Fellow at NYU.

Michael Trainer, Co-Founder, See Change Global

Michael Trainer’s mission is to use innovative media for education and social change.  Michael’s work builds a bridge connecting individuals and communities committed to innovative solutions to some of our greatest global challenges. As a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka, Michael researched the ways arts are used to to build community. Michael is Co-Founder of See Change Global and also serves as a Strategic Media Consultant to the Columbia University Center for International Conflict Resolution. He holds an M.A from Columbia University.

Visra Vichit-Vadakan, Director & Writer, Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship

Visra is an emerging Thai film Director and Writer.  She is part of a new wave of Thai artists passionate about their individual art, but also dedicated to shaping a community of young people who teach compassion and encourage social action and social responsibility through their work.  Visra is a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.