Mark Shuttleworth is an inspirational young man who has fuelled the imagination of the people of his home country. Regarded as the South African astronaut, Mark Shuttleworth made African history when he ventured into space in 2002. Now a South African philanthropist, Mark Shuttleworth is dedicated to improving access to quality education in this country.
Mark Shuttleworth's interest in technology began as a child with computer games and peaked as a student with the advent of the internet. Shuttleworth was studying for a Business Science degree in Finance when he began investigating the impact of the internet.
In his final year of study he founded the Thawte Internet consulting firm, which went on to produce the first-ever, full-security encrypted e-commerce web server that was commercially available outside the USA. The product gained incredible international support and was recognised as the fastest-growing, global internet certificate authority when it was sold to VeriSign 4 years later.
So began Shuttleworth's path to greatness - he went on to form HBD Venture Capital, which invests in local South African companies with potential global reach, as well as the non-profit organisation, The Shuttleworth Foundation, which aims to improve access to and the quality of education in this country.
In 2002, Shuttleworth literally shot to fame when he became the first African in space and only the second private citizen to self-fund this journey. He fulfilled his lifetime dream after training for 7 months at Russia's Star City. He was part of the Soyuz TM-34 crew and visited the International Space Station, where he conducted various scientific research experiments.
Two years later, Shuttleworth broke new ground again when he founded the Ubuntu project, which seeks to produce top quality operating systems supported by the latest software, which are freely available across the globe.
Shuttleworth is a passionate South African whose achievements have not only captivated this nation, but helped to nurture an interest in science and technology among the young Shuttleworths of the future.