This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week got off to a flying start this week with the South Africa launch. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) got off to a flying start this week with the South Africa launch taking place at the 22 On Sloane start-up campus in Bryanston. 

The eagerly-awaited event attracted more than 500 entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders, which included start-ups, investors, policymakers and various incubator and accelerator networks. Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Small Business Development, officially launched the week. The minister also participated in the panel discussion that focused on how technology can be a vital enabler to help solve the burgeoning youth unemployment crisis. 

GEW is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators, who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

GEW is more than just an awareness campaign, it is a global platform for connection and collaboration, engaging all players in the entrepreneurship spectrum and strengthening international ecosystems, supported and endorsed by dozens of world leaders. 

GEN Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from big and small businesses to support their activities.

I have strongly stated that over the years, many, if not most of the start-ups that have managed to scale were inspired by the GEW’s strong ethos and contagious spirit. It continues to inspire many to do so by supporting, understanding, celebrating and connecting the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Last year’s GEW statistics were absolutely phenomenal. More than 167 countries participated with 17 000 partners, 39 000 events, 8 million people and a whopping $159 million (R2.27 billion) in play. In South Africa alone, more than 60 events were held with some 15 000 people participating. Invaluable testimony to the event’s global staying power.

This year, South Africa will host around 100 events. These include a full week of activities at 22 On Sloane with each day having its own theme. Taking place tomorrow is the Microsoft Tech day – definitely a highlight not to be missed, which will incorporate the launch of the Microsoft HeadStart programme. This focuses on supporting tech start-ups in South Africa and will help: 

  • Improve your knowledge and your organisation’s trajectory with all types of training and certifications offered by Microsoft HeadStart.
  • Open the right doors at every stage of your journey by connecting you with a worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts and cloud technologies. 
  • Build the right solution with expert support.
  • Grow your customer base by introducing you to its extensive worldwide network of enterprises. governments and other start-ups.
  • Ensure compliance, regulation and assistance with business legal matters.
  • Grow and evolve your tech start-up into a fully-fledged Microsoft partner. 

To find activities happening in your community/city, visit: https://genglobal.org/south-africa 

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chairperson of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest start-up campus.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Independent Media.

BUSINESS REPORT