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"Young people often think they dont have a right to speak up because they dont speak up, but all they need is confidence," says Innovator, Derrick Kotze.

Derrick Kotze believes that African technology developers will code African solutions to African problems.

His job as chief executive officer of mLab is to facilitate that process.

mLab is a mobile solutions laboratory and startup accelerator that provides entrepreneurs and developers with the support they need to develop innovative mobile applications and services.

Kotze, a University of Pretoria IT graduate, has been working in the mobile technology sector for more than seven years.

After graduating, he joined a small digital startup that serviced clients such as Walmart and eBay with online advertising services.

As head of digital at Thought24 (a division of Media24) from 2009, he spearheaded digital concepts and applications for magazines such as ​Real Magazine and True Love.​

His work in development outreach started with a move to Nokia where he worked with developers in East and Southern Africa to mobilise their ideas and content through mobile applications and services.

Kotze believes that unlike developers in the United States who sell viral games and apps directly to users, South African techies will see more success coding tools for industry and government.

One of mLab’s alumni sold a mobile app to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa that updates train schedules.

Find Kotze on Twitter: @derrickkotze