Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chairperson of the GEN Africa and is the board vice-president and interim president of Digital Africa. Photo: Supplied
Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chairperson of the GEN Africa and is the board vice-president and interim president of Digital Africa. Photo: Supplied

Entrepreneurs now more important than ever

By Opinion Time of article published Nov 17, 2020

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GLOBAL Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the largest celebration of entrepreneurs and innovators who bring ideas to life and improve economic welfare across the world.

For more than a decade, the annual platform has attracted millions of people from about 180 countries, with more than 20 000 partners participating in events and initiatives.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) uses GEW as its flagship annual programme that encourages ecosystem stakeholders to launch new programmes, fund startups, explore progressive policies for their countries, address challenges faced by startups, hack solutions for obstacles and work together towards building a stronger and more sustainable ecosystem.

Although GEW will be held under different circumstance this year due to Covid-19, many stakeholders are still planning to hold hybrid events, because entrepreneurship is more important now than before. The pandemic has shown us that entrepreneurs are crucial to restart the decimated economies and to help rebuild brighter future for all.

In this light, GEW also presents an ideal and inspirational opportunity to restore hope for our collective communities and countries, as pandemic-induced unemployment and business closures continue to rise rapidly.

Digital Africa, a e130 million (about R2.3 billion) initiative founded by the French government to assist Africa’s technology startups, is proud to fully support the GEN-led GEW – a commitment aligned with its mission to equip African tech entrepreneurs with capabilities to design and scale-up ground-breaking innovations for the real economy.

As the co-chairperson of the GEN Africa and the board vice-president and interim president of Digital Africa, I am confident and excited that the collaboration between the two entities will inspire a more strategic focus and renewed energy on how best to build and support Africa’s tech startup ecosystem.

Both the GEN and Digital Africa have achieved vast empowering successes and leveraging on each other now will prove highly beneficial.

Although the GEN already has operations in 42 African countries and a unique network in support of entrepreneurship and creativity, Digital Africa has created programmes to facilitate connections between tech startups and those who are ready to bet on tech talents – including the Africa Next Community and the recently launched Bridge Fund by Digital Africa, both of which are designed to support co-investments to scale up most promising tech projects.

We need to work closely to see how best to mobilise all these entrepreneurial ecosystems and make them better and stronger.

GEW will be held from November 16 to 22. If you want to participate in the various events in your area, please visit the GEN’s websitefor more details. Go to www.genglobal.org. We look forward to your contribution, and your ideas and proposals to make African startups ecosystems even more resilient!

22 on Sloane will celebrate GEW on Tuesday, November 17, with the theme “Digitally enabled”, so please join us. Register at www.22onsloane.co

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chairperson of the GEN Africa and is the board vice-president and interim president of Digital Africa.

BUSINESS REPORT

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