The Team



Co-Regional Lead, East Africa (Kenya)
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Patricia has worked across Africa and Europe building international partnerships to help East African startups flourish. She is the Managing Director of GrowthAfrica, which has helped more than 1500 East African businesses scale through mentorship, training, and patient capital. She is an Acumen Fund East Africa Fellow and earned her BBA-Marketing from Makerere University in Uganda and her MBA from Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Patricia leads and manages all Kenyan SPRING staff, operations, networks, and activities.
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Co-Regional Lead, East Africa (Rwanda)
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Sara Leedom is the COO of African Entrepreneur Collective with 15 years of experience in growing and managing social impact organisations, providing operations and fundraising strategy to growing nonprofits and social enterprises. Sara’s funded early stage tech startups in Ghana via SBS Venture Fund, and has developed affordable housing throughout the US. Former positions include: Interim Executive Director and Director of Strategy for the Level Playing Field Institute in California, MD of Inkomoko Accelerator in Rwanda, and co-chair of the Oxford Business Network for Africa.
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Kevin Thiong’o

Country Manager, Uganda
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Kevin has worked across East and Central Africa supporting the growth of scalable enterprises through acceleration programs, investment-readiness support and access to investments. He is a Growth Catalyst at GrowthAfrica, East Africa’s premier accelerator program that has supported over 1,500 across Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia. He is also a Facilitator of the Malawi Growth Accelerator program, an initiative of UNDP supporting the growth and scale of Malawian ventures. Kevin has years of experience in management consulting and is the consulting Co-Founder at Bloom Insight Ltd
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Sylvie Richard Kinabo

Country Manager, Kenya and Ethiopia
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As  the Country Manager for Ethiopia and Kenya, Sylvie works towards ensuring smooth operations within three departments: programme recruitment, programme events and logistics. She is also a Programme Support Lead at GrowthAfrica – a leading acceleration and growth partner for African entrepreneurs. Prior to that, she worked with UK based law firms and joined United Nations Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the The Hague from 2010 to 2012 to work the defence teams on the re-trial of the former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Idris Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj.
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Rizwaan Khambata

Country Manager, Rwanda & Tanzania
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Rizwaan Khambata works with SPRING’s Tanzania and Rwanda businesses as they built their prototypes, explore investment opportunities and grow. He also works with The Next Economy program, supporting business incubators and accelerators across Africa to develop strategy and programs that are community-based and increasingly sustainable. Rizwaan has worked on diverse economic development and civil society initiatives with partners such as Oxfam-Novib, Cordaid, AKF, VC4Africa and Civic.co


Fahad Ifaz

Country Manager, Bangladesh
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After spending a few years at Katalyst; a pro-poor Market Systems Development program and at the World Bank, Fahad co-founded EDGE Consulting. EDGE specializes in economic, business and innovation at the bottom of the pyramid and works with major international development organizations, private sector and government clients. Fahad spent the last 2 years in Myanmar, supporting a large scale market systems development program. Fahad also co-founded Misfit Technologies, a company that has human centered design at its core and works on agritech, artificial intelligence and IoT solutions for complex problem solving.

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Luna Shrestha Thakur

Country Manager, Nepal
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Luna is the Founding Director of ChangeFusion Nepal, a non-governmental organisation that nurtures aspiring change makers in diverse fields within social entrepreneurship. As an author of travelogue ‘A Journey to Self’, her book is an inspiration for young women who seek to pursue their dreams. She was the leader of Youth Action Fund Nepal for three consecutive years from 2011 and has been working closely with the youth and social change makers of Nepal. She has previously consulted with the British Council, and has worked with Save the Children and the Asia Foundation. She was named as one of five finalists for ‘Women Leader in the World’ by World Pulse magazine.
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Jo Hill

Country Manager, Nepal
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Jo Hill is SPRING’s Nepal Country Manger. Previously, was the Executive Director of Waste Ventures Charities, a non-profit in India. In the UK, Jo worked as the Director of Ventures at UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs. She raised £10 million to pilot and roll out the Big Venture Challenge programme to support the most ambitious social entrepreneurs in the UK. Jo started her career in the international development sector with Save the Children. She has spent the last 12 years supporting entrepreneurs and set up her own outdoor fitness business, Open Gym.


Country Manager, Pakistan
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Zia is an entrepreneur, inventor and startup adviser who is currently involved in a project building home automation and energy saving devices based on IoT technologies. He is the founding member of Plan9, one of the largest tech incubators in Pakistan. He has founded IT services and product companies, and has over 15+ years of Silicon Valley experience in product development and program management at companies including Oracle and Altera (now Intel). Imran is also a part-time farmer, helping manage his family farm. He believes in equality for children from early age to adulthood – providing equal access to education and healthcare throughout the life-cycle, leading to fulfilling and meaningful careers for adults in Pakistan and beyond.
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South Asia Coordinator, Nepal
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Carolyn handles and overseas operations for the programme across Asia. She has lived in Kathmandu, Nepal for over 20 years and is Managing Director of Durbar Associates, a film-handling and event management company. Often considered the “go to” person in Nepal Carolyn has managed a wide range of international film projects, ecotourism study tours, purchase and design guidance for products and services produced in Nepal and India, and logistical management for international events.
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Andy Annett

Country Manager, Myanmar; Investment Manager, South Asia
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Andy is SPRING’s Myanmar Country Manager and SPRING’s Investment Manager across Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan focusing on raising funds for SPRING businesses across the region. Prior to this, he was the Managing Director of TODAY Ogilvy in Myanmar, the WPP advertising and communications agency.  He has a number of NED roles with Myanmar start-up and growth companies and is a mentor to some of the new generation of entrepreneurs in the country. Andy has had global roles in the Advertising, Digital and Marketing Communications industry and also founded his own award-winning Marketing Consultancy, which worked on some of the leading brands in the UK.
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Richard Obuobi

Investment Readiness Manager, East Africa
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Richard is an international development professional with expertise in economics, investment, risk, development finance and private sector engagement. He is also a Part Qualified Actuary and Risk Professional (Certified Financial Risk Manager, Certified Energy Risk Professional), although he remains a generalist at heart, curious about all business issues and very open to sharing ideas and his experience. His international experience spans more than 20 countries in Africa and Europe. He’s also an entrepreneur who has set up businesses in Kenya and Ghana, including Africa Risk Institute and Impact Risk Analytics.
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Ramona Liberoff

Senior Advisor
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Ramona has worked for 20+ years at the corner of innovation and globalisation, leading large global insight relationships for clients like Vodafone, Pepsico and HSBC, leading innovation teams for Unilever, and also acting as an investor for an angel portfolio of high growth change the world start-ups and occasional founder, most recently of a radically inclusive transport start-up.
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Technical Director
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Rebecca has over 6 years of experience in development program design, management and learning. Previously at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Rebecca provided technical and managerial support to a range of programs focusing on improving nutrition through market-based solutions across Africa and Asia. Rebecca has authored numerous publications on best practices and lessons learned, and is passionate about capturing what works, what doesn’t, why, and how.
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Investment Director
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Suzanne has more than 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship, training and communications, and investing for social impact. Over the course of her career she has occupied executive, manager, board member, and team leader roles for multidisciplinary programmes as well as a number of short-term consultancies on socially responsible business and social impact investing. Suzanne has trained hundreds of entrepreneurs on methods for raising capital and has designed and implemented investment programmes, networks, and partnerships in the US, UK, and Europe.
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Oiza Nicholson

Project Director
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Oiza is Palladium’s Nigeria Country Manager where she leads a portfolio valued at over £350million pounds. She is an expert in design and implementation of large and complex multiyear development projects across governance and social development sectors, and has led teams that have secured multimillion pound development projects. As DFID’s Programme Manager in Nigeria, she led its governance and social development portfolio expansion and the development of high value multiyear business cases approved by DFID ministers, increasing its GSD portfolio to over £70million pounds annually.
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Robert Haynie has over 17 years of experience leading initiatives that bring together governments, companies, entrepreneurs, foundations, and non-profit organisations to address complex global challenges. He brings experience from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Booz Allen Hamilton, FleishmanHillard, and Microsoft Corporation.
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Joost Verwilghen

Chief of Operations
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Joost has over 20 years of experience in managing large and complex international development programmes with numerous donors, including DFID, DFAT and EC. He started his career in South Asia where he worked and lived for more than 5 years. Joost is SPRING’s COO, responsible for programme delivery, budget management of the SPRING Accelerator and successful implementation of services by the SPRING team in collaboration with consortium partners, technical experts, and consultants.
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Emma Davies

Technical Programme Manager
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Emma Davies is a Technical Programme Manager with 13 years’ experience in strategic partnerships and knowledge mobilization within the international development sector.  Areas of expertise include innovation and technology, gender and inclusion, strategic planning, knowledge mobilization and communications.
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Senior Advisor, Monitoring Evaluation and Learning
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Rebecca has 6+ years of experience in development program design, management and learning. Previously at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Rebecca provided technical and managerial support to a range of programs focusing on improving nutrition through market-based solutions across Africa and Asia. Rebecca has authored numerous publications on best practices and lessons learned, and is passionate about capturing what works, what doesn’t, why, and how.
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Emily Waters

Monitoring & Evaluation
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Emily is part of the SPRING Monitoring & Evaluation Team, helping to capture and interpret the results of our work. She has over 10 years of experience in research and M&E for development programs in the US and Africa, running the gamut from designing performance monitoring systems and qualitative research to managing randomised controlled trials. She enjoys working with businesses to conceptualize and demonstrate impact, adapting tools and methods to be relevant and practical given the topic and level of rigor required.
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Sabrina Snell

Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser
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As an M&E adviser to SPRING, Sabrina brings 8 years’ experience in development research, M&E system design and programme monitoring. With a deep love for data—in all its qualitative and quantitative forms—she has worked in a variety of contexts and countries across the four hemispheres, starting her journey in astrometry but ultimately choosing to explore the human side of data. She holds a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex) and BA and MA degrees in Anthropology from Yale University.

Jessica Kempner

Programme Manager
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Jess is responsible for managing SPRING projects, including Business Additional Funding (BAF) and capital raising support provision. Prior to joining the Economic Growth team at Palladium, she worked as Business Development Manager for The Social Investment Consultancy, a social change strategy consultancy specialising in impact. She conducted research for the Womanity Foundation, mapping trends in women’s media participation across the MENA region, and has done freelance translation work for BBC Newsnight.
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Julia Hanne

Senior Communications Manager
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Julia is SPRING’s Senior Communications Manager. Prior to joining SPRING, she worked at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – the UK’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues – where she managed the  research and policy communications for the institute’s portfolio in development and public finance, growth, poverty, inequality and economics.
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Rebecca Hills

Event Manager and Knowledge & Strategic Communications Adviser
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Rebecca is responsible for SPRINGs events and close-out communications. With 7 years experience in events and communications, she has undertaken various roles on creative teams, including overseeing marketing and communications, events and digital media. She has worked with NGOs, the private sector and government agencies across Australia, the U.A.E and the U.K, supporting domestic initiatives, and programmes across emerging markets. Her expertise is in the design of effective communications, and high-impact stakeholder and client events.
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Audrey Wong

Project Associate
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Audrey is responsible for supporting the operational and financial management of SPRING. She is also project managing HDIF currently, a challenge fund which aims to identify and support innovations that have the potential to create social impact in education, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) across Tanzania. Previously, she has managed a DFID global rapid response Business Environment Reform facility.
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Carmen Chapell-Elkin

Project Officer
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Carmen works in the operational management for SPRING, particularly focusing on the responsible management of grants. She has previous extensive project management experience in Beijing and Shanghai. She holds an MsC in Migration, Mobility and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a BA Honours in Chinese Studies from the University of Manchester.
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Charlotte is responsible for supporting the operational and financial management of SPRING. She has over five years of experience in the operational management of social and economic empowerment and governance programmes, with a focus on Southern Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. Charlotte has worked on a broad range of projects run by institutional donors, NGOs, INGOs and media networks, including Triple Line Consulting, WarChild UK and Al Jazeera.
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Yves is the Founder of fuseproject and an award-winning industrial designer and entrepreneur. He has extensive experience in developing innovative product solutions and taking them to scale in emerging markets. Yves is a powerful advocate for design as an agent of change. Yves was the Chief Industrial Designer of the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop, which works to make educational devices that are affordable for those living in developing and emerging economies. His works are included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, and he is a frequent speaker on design, sustainability, and business topics.
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Creative and Business Leader
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Roo works at the intersection of business innovation and entrepreneurial methodology. As a consultant to executive leadership teams, Roo has created transformative growth strategies across financial, CPG, technology, and sustainably-focused industries, including Pepsi, Alliance Bernstein, LinkedIn, MySpace, GE, and Seventh Generation. His focus is on delivering holistic solutions that combine creative and business thinking to help clients tap into the entrepreneur’s “challenger” mindset. He has a prioritised focus on activation, understanding that good ideas and good businesses don’t mean anything unless they succeed in the marketplace.
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