The GEC+ Africa: A Milestone for Entrepreneurship in Africa

The Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC+ Africa), the premier forum for African entrepreneurs, achieved a pivotal milestone recently with the successful launch of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), setting the stage for next year’s congress.

The launch featured insightful presentations from key figures including Kizito Okechukwu, Executive Head at 22 On Sloane and GEN Africa Co-Chair who opened the session; followed by the GEN President Jonathan Ortmans; as well as representatives from partners to the congress such as African Bank, Telkom, SAB Foundation and UVU Africa.

GEC+Africa’s Project Lead Ms Carmen Rossouw, and 22 On Sloane’s Chief Investments Officer, Mr Sthembiso Mpungose, also made significant contributions on the impact the LOC will have, leading up to the congress next year as well as the impact of entrepreneurship on the continent.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of the Department of Small Business Development, delivered the keynote address, officially announcing that registrations for the GEC+ Africa 2024 are now live and open across the continent. She emphasised the importance of this momentous event and encouraged entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity and register 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,” the minister said. She further added how the congress will encourage cross-border partnerships amongst entrepreneurs, private and public sector on the continent.

The launch highlighted how Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) are the backbone of Africa’s economy, accounting for 80% of all jobs. With its high rate of entrepreneurs – 22% of the working-age population (and up to 40% in places like Algeria and Nigeria).

Moreover, 90% of African entrepreneurs fall within the SMME category, with frontier industries like Agritech, Edtech, Clean Energy, Manufacture Logistics, and Healthtech at the heart of Africa’s new digital economy ecosystem.

In the build-up to the main congress lead up activities and regional pitch competitions will be held across Africa. These platforms will showcase the continent’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems, identify regional talent, and highlight African innovation. Fifteen competition finalists will have the chance to pitch at GEC+ Africa 2024, with three winners ultimately sharing in prizes up to USD100,000.

The forthcoming GEC+ Africa, scheduled for 13 and 14 March 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, is set to be a stage of global influence. The event will bring together thought leaders, business trailblazers, startup founders, investors and advocates of entrepreneurship from across the globe.

Event organisers anticipate the convergence of 1,000 startups and SMMEs, 200 policymakers, 200 investors, and 100 ESOs, which make up the staggering 1 500 expected delegates.

The GEC+ Africa serves as a beacon symbolising Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit and economic evolution, attracting, amplifying, and broadcasting business innovation across the continent. Its overarching quest is to support and connect African entrepreneurs with global resources and investor networks, creating robust platforms to drive collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystems. The Congress also champions policy evolution to drive sustainable growth for entrepreneurs.

Carmen Rossouw explained that GEC+ Africa’s mission is guided by a roadmap of tangible objectives.

“Firstly, to support the development and scaling of startups; secondly, to create an enabling environment for these startups, fostering job creation; thirdly, to establish market linkages between African startups and large corporations, as well as multinationals, promoting mutually beneficial partnerships; fourthly, to nurture a global investor pipeline, enticing investment into Africa’s startups; and finally, to establish a robust GEN presence in each country, facilitating a unified entrepreneurial network across the continent.”

“We look forward to next year’s Congress, cognisant of the profound impact that such initiatives have on our path towards sustainable growth and development,” Ndabeni-Abrahams concluded.

Original Source: Zawya