The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well across Africa despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This was evident during Global Entrepreneurship Week (#GEW2021) this November, celebrated in over 40 countries across the continent. In some countries, #GEW2021 was launched by policy leaders such as Algeria's Minister of Industry and the Ministers of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Cameroon and Zambia. In others, partners collaborated to organize national and regional entrepreneurship conferences to build bonds among the key players of the ecosystem. Here are a few #GEW2021 highlights from Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.
The third edition of GEW Cameroon was themed on the "capitalization of entrepreneurial opportunities in times of crisis”. The campaign officially launched on November 10 at the Groupement Inter-Patronal du Cameroun headquarters in Douala and was attended by the Minister of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts, H.E. Achille Bassilekin III.
"The public-private partnership must work hand-in-hand,” said Gilles Lewat, managing director for Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) in Cameroon. “Our Minister is here to deliver that message to everyone."
During the week, a memorandum of agreement (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts and GEN Cameroon, allowing GEN Cameroon to operate and expand its activities throughout Cameroonian territory.
"We are really interested in seeing the development, consolidation, and expansion of entrepreneurial activity in our country,” said Minister Bassilekin III.
As part of the week’s activities, GEW partner Jokkolabs hosted a Startup Huddle event in their space. “Given the current health, social and entrepreneurial context, startups can be a launching pad for the African economy in terms of boosting youth potential,” said Startup Huddle organizer Olivier Ngwe.
One of the highlights of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week in Nigeria was the FATE Foundation’s 7th Policy Dialogue Series on Entrepreneurship. This annual event, organized by Nigeria’s leading entrepreneurship foundation, brought together high-level policy stakeholders within the country’s ecosystem to discuss a range of issues affecting entrepreneurs. This year’s event was themed on ‘building an inclusive, cohesive, and sustainable ecosystem’.
The event also launched the ‘State of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria’ report with the contribution of GEN Nigeria and the Enterprise Development Centre at Pan-Atlantic University. This inaugural annual report examines evolving demographic trends and wider indicators to identify where entrepreneurship stands in Nigeria today and where it is headed in the medium term. Key themes examined in this report include women and youth-led entrepreneurship, and the impact of technology on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
On November 11, the Enterprise Development Centre hosted a creative summit in Nigeria with the theme: "Talent is not Enough." With the goal of providing continuous learning and networking for young people in the creative sector, the summit drew entrepreneurs and attendees from around Africa and included a mix of pitching competitions and panel discussions. Olawale Anifowose, managing director of GEN Nigeria and the official host of GEW in the country, believes that the cultural and creative industries in Africa have shown enormous promise in terms of accelerating economic growth and job creation, and can achieve even greater success with the right skill sets.
As part of GEW celebrations in South Africa, the Allen Gray Orbis Foundation, a member of GEN Research, hosted Ignite Africa, bringing together like-minded individuals, organizations, and countries in the entrepreneurship space to discuss, share research knowledge on the entrepreneurial mindset, educate and learn from each other.
22onSloane, the official GEW host organization in South Africa, hosted a hackathon in Johannesburg in partnership with Telkom. The hackathon aimed at solving business challenges, creating solutions and opportunities in fintech, edtech, gaming, internet software solutions, smart homes and over the top media service. Software developers, computer engineers, strategists, thinkers, UX/UI designers, and techies participated. Over 20 teams competed in six different challenges and six teams had the opportunity to share a cash prize worth R1,2 million.
The official launch of GEW Zambia took place on November 14 and was attended by the Minister for Small and Medium Enterprise Development Elias Mubanga. The campaign will close on November 29 with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Garry Nkombo. Over 50 partners contributed to this year’s GEW campaign in Zambia.
GEW events in Zambia serve as catalysts for the economic revitalization and transformation of districts and provinces. As part of the week’s activities, the GEW Zambia National Steering Committee met in person for the first time since the pandemic and the first GEN Zambia board meeting took place. The entity will be officially announced in the coming weeks.