The Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC+ Africa), forum for African entrepreneurs, celebrated a significant milestone with the launch of its Local Organising Committee (LOC), paving the way for next year’s congress. The highly anticipated event aims to connect entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and advocates of entrepreneurship from around the world.
The recent inaugural meeting of the LOC witnessed influential figures addressing the audience, including Kizito Okechukwu, executive head at 22 On Sloane and GEN Africa co-chair, who commenced the session. This was followed by a presentation from GEN president Jonathan Ortmans and representatives from key partners such as African Bank, Telkom, SAB Foundation, and UVU Africa.
During the launch, GEC+Africa project lead, Carmen Rossouw, and chief investments officer of 22 On Sloane, Sthembiso Mpungose, made noteworthy contributions regarding the impact the LOC will have in the lead-up to the congress and entrepreneurship’s overall significance for the continent.
In a keynote address, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister of small business development, in South Africa, officially announced the opening of registrations for the GEC+ Africa 2024. She underscored the event’s importance and urged entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity by registering promptly to secure their participation.
“I am pleased to announce the opening of registrations for GEC+ Africa 2024. Anyone interested in contributing to or supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs should register now to ensure their place at next year’s pivotal event,” Ndabeni-Abrahams stated. She further emphasised that the congress would encourage cross-border partnerships among entrepreneurs, the private sector, and the public sector across the continent.
The launch highlighted the crucial role of SMMEs in Africa’s economy, accounting for 80% of all jobs. With a high rate of entrepreneurs – 22% of the working-age population (and up to 40% in countries like Algeria and Nigeria) – the continent’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is vibrant.
Frontier industries such as agritech, edtech, clean energy, manufacturing logistics, and healthtech are at the forefront of Africa’s new digital economy, with 90% of African entrepreneurs falling within the SMME category.
In the run-up to the main congress, lead-up activities and regional pitch competitions will be organised throughout Africa. These platforms will showcase the continent’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems, identify regional talent, and highlight African innovation. Fifteen competition finalists will have the opportunity to pitch at GEC+ Africa 2024, with three winners ultimately sharing prizes totalling up to $100 000.
Scheduled for 13 and 14 March 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the upcoming GEC+ Africa is expected to be a globally influential event.
It will bring together thought leaders, business trailblazers, start-up founders, investors, and entrepreneurship advocates from across the globe.
Event organisers anticipate the convergence of 1 000 start-ups and SMMEs, 200 policymakers, 200 investors, and 100 Entrepreneurship Support Organisations (ESOs), resulting in a staggering total of 1 500 delegates.
The GEC+ Africa symbolises Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit and economic evolution, attracting attention, amplifying success stories, and promoting business innovation across the continent. Its main objective is to support and connect African entrepreneurs with global resources and investor networks, establishing robust platforms that drive collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystems. The congress also advocates for policy evolution to foster sustainable growth for entrepreneurs.
Rossouw said GEC+ Africa’s mission is guided by a roadmap of tangible objectives. She said, “Our mission is to support the development and scaling of start-ups, create an enabling environment for these start-ups to foster job creation, establish market linkages between African start-ups and large corporations and multinationals to promote mutually beneficial partnerships, nurture a global investor pipeline to attract investment into Africa’s start-ups, and establish a robust GEN presence in each country to facilitate a unified entrepreneurial network across the continent.”
“We look forward to next year’s congress, understanding the profound impact that such initiatives have on our path towards sustainable growth and development,” concluded Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Find out more about GEC+ Africa at https://gecafrica.co/#about.