South Africa, Born 1974
“Each of us has a dream, something we want to fulfil in life,” says technology specialist and philanthropist Mark Shuttleworth. The South African entrepreneur is renowned at home and abroad for seeking new opportunities in global technology.
Investing in innovative breakthroughs, Shuttleworth’s venture-capital firm HBD (Here Be Dragons, a phrase purportedly used to describe uncharted territory on early maps) exemplifies his enterprising spirit.
Shuttleworth became fascinated with technology as a child when he discovered computer games, a “vice”, he admits, that continues today. In 1995, during his final year at the University of Cape Town, he founded Thawte Consulting which quickly became the leading Internet security company for electronic commerce outside the U.S. The proceeds from the company’s sale in 1999 have allowed him to fund several non-profit organizations, including bridges.org, whose mission is to help span the technology gap between Africa and the developed world, and the Shuttleworth Foundation, dedicated to improving education in Africa. Education helps young people to recognize that anything is possible, says Shuttleworth.
Shuttleworth’s own long-held ambition was realized in 2002 when, as a crew member of Russia’s Soyuz TM-34 spacecraft, he became the first African in space. The scientific experiments he conducted on board the International Space Station form the basis of his Hip2BSquare roadshow that aims to make mathematics and science attractive to pupils and reinforces the message — “knowledge is power”.
Published in 2006