“A leader is a dealer in hope.” — Napoleon Bonaparte



Uber Sub-Sahara Africa

Entrepreneur and business professional Collen Mphabantshi is head of platform safety at Uber for sub-Saharan Africa. He is responsible for rider and driver safety across the region, partnering with Europe, the Middle East and Africa and global safety teams to launch new products and features.

“I provide project management and key partner alignment on initiatives to ensure they are connected to the larger business goals; ensuring projects are accurately defined, prioritised and have quantifiable goals and baseline data. I supervise safety metrics, analyse the data and take on issues identified from the data analysis to improve safety policies, processes and products,” says Collen, 32, who has a BSc honours  in computer science from the University of Pretoria, post-graduate certificate in project management from Regenesys Business School and various cyber-security and forensic certifications.

Collen has also launched and run business ventures including The Banchi Group, a tech startup that provides IT services to SMEs; Leafy Mall, an online multi-vendor marketplace for local farmers and LyfBit App, a tech innovation aimed at enhancing access to healthcare.

“I am driven by my passion to impact people’s lives positively. In a complex world that is polarised by many challenges, I keep myself going through by solving complex problems that improve other people’s lives in a significant way. Hence, in every role that I have taken in corporate and in my startups, I have always ensured that my work impacts people’s lives practically in a positive way. This passion emanates from my humble background where I started from nothing.”

  • Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age, Harvard University, 2020
  • BSc computer science honours, University of Pretoria, 2016
  • BSc computer science degree,t University of Pretoria, 2014
  • Post-graduate certificate project management, Regenesys Business School, 2015


  • GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner, SANS Technology Institute, 2019
  • EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) Certification, OpenText, 2018

  • I was selected for, and have completed, the McKinsey & Company Forward Program (2022) which is 30+ hours of digital and virtual learning covering a range of Future of Work skills, including adaptability, structured thinking, communicating with impact, self-leadership and new ways of working and thinking.
  •  I was invited to be a speaker at World Digital Weeks 2021: International Cybersecurity & Digital Services Protection Conference. Topic: A Cyber Security Threat Perspective — SA’s 2020 Overview, 2 September 2020. 
  • In my role at Uber, I have successfully launched over 10 safety products across the sub-Saharan African region with flagship features such as Audio Recording, Safety Check, Proof of Trip Status and many more.

During my gap year in 2009, I was depressed. My late brother sat me down and told me I must “learn to exercise strategic patience”. Furthermore, he said that it is through strategic patience that you’d see setbacks as a second chance to prepare yourself for the next big leap.

Life is not a sprint, so be patient with your journey. Setbacks are just opportunities for you to get a second chance to prepare thoroughly; they are not meant to discourage you. Look forward and keep striving forward cause there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I would like to see a South Africa that is intentional about prioritising youth economic emancipation and cultivation of entrepreneurship. I want to see a more bold and youthful leadership grabbing the bull by the horns when it comes to issues of economic emancipation of youth and women, especially for those who are in the SME sector. I also want to see South Africa turned into a construction site with new cities and infrastructure being developed in areas that have been previously overlooked. 

It is my dream to see South Africa becoming an economic catalyst in the development of Africa as an economic bloc. With opportunities such as AfCFTA in place, I would love to see South Africa’s youth entrepreneurs capitalising on business opportunities across the continent.

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