Kizito Okechukwu, the co-chairperson of GEN Africa. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - The path of entrepreneurship is often mired in difficulty and uncertainty, as unexpected challenges arise and tough decisions need to be taken.

With this in mind, the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) has developed its 22 On Sloane Start-up Huddle, a programme designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs globally.

Starting on March 8, 22 On Sloane will host weekly huddles every Thursday thereafter. Here, entrepreneurs can gather, share experiences, reveal challenges and crowd-source solutions.

Fledgling start-ups are also invited to present their business concepts to a diverse audience of their peers, as well as mentors, educators and advisers, for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.

The global culture and premise of a start-up huddle is to create a supportive, neutral and comfortable space that welcomes entrepreneurs to be totally transparent about their businesses and the challenges they face.

With local founders, innovators, educators and investors present, as well as a global network of entrepreneurial leaders, this weekly event provides a unique, interactive and collaborative platform to strengthen the start-up community and help sustain its success.


The 22 On Sloane Start-up Huddle theme for March will focus on discussions that will be held at the upcoming 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), which takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, a thriving start-up hub that is both an economic and cultural cornerstone of Europe and Asia.

Although 22 On Sloane will be sending a few start-ups to attend the congress, the huddle provides an invaluable opportunity for start-ups that cannot attend to still be a part of the conversations.

Every year, the GEC brings together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other start-up champions from more than 170 countries to identify new ways of helping founding entrepreneurs start and scale their new ventures.

At the week-long GEC, delegates can network and make new connections, gain insights, access the latest research and leave ready to renew their programmes, policy ideas and founder skills.

Leading the Start-up Huddle initiative is Alesimo Mwanga, a research director at 22 On Sloane, who says aspiring and existing entrepreneurs have a lot to benefit from the huddles.

“Our first huddle looks into the trends and opportunities of lifestyle innovation. As Africa emerges as the next big market, with a population of more than 1billion, there is an abundance of exciting opportunities for lifestyle entrepreneurs.”

Innovative technology entrepreneurs Enrico Ferigolli, co-founder of Bottles, and Loyiso Vatsha, co-founder of the Mapha Food Sharing app, will be sharing insights, trends and opportunities.

Joining these two dynamic start-ups are Andrew le Roux, chief business transformation officer at MMI Holdings, and Jeremy Bauman, a senior consultant of early stage financing at the World Bank. For more information and to register for the Start-up Huddle, visit

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chairperson Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa - 22 On Sloane and executive head SEA Africa.

The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Independent Group