Mike Herrington

Mike Herrington

Mike Herrington
Executive Director, Global Entrepreneurship Research Association, University of Cape Town

Mike Herrington currently holds the position of Executive Director of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) which is part of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA) an organization operating is over 100 countries covering all geographic regions and at all levels of economic development. He is also the Team Leader for GEM South Africa and is currently based at the Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Mike was involved with a number of Southern African companies in the 1970’s and 1980’s including a group of companies in Zimbabwe in the 1970’s and then as General Manager of Southern Paper Industries in South Africa. He then became joint Managing Director and shareholder of Classic Holdings in the Western Cape, the latter being a company which manufactures and markets by direct sales a range of up-market stainless steel cookware both in South Africa and several overseas countries. He helped start several new Divisions within the Group.

In the mid 1980’s he moved to New Zealand to take up the position of General Manager of a cosmetic company and whilst there started his own cosmetic company which he later sold.

He returned to South Africa in 1989 and started a ladies hosiery company which he and a partner built-up to one employing several thousand people and dominating over 85% of the South African market. After 10 years they sold out to the American company, Sara-Lee Corporation, after which Mike continued to stay with the company for a number of years as the chief executive, before “retiring” in 1999.

He was then asked to join the Graduate School of Business School in 2001 where he founded the Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship which in 2013 was moved from the Business School to the Faculty of Commerce.

Mike obtained an MBA from Cape Town University and a PhD from London. In 2014 he was involved in teaching MBA students specializing in New Venture Planning and Entrepreneurship as well as teaching in Customized Academic Learning and Executive Education Programmes. His activities revolve around teaching, research and business creation both in the high-tech, high-potential sector as well as with SMME’s. He is involved in a number of SMME initiatives and has done research on SMME’s both in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa as well as other developing countries such as in South America.


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