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22 on Sloane: Why you should be celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Weekend

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | NOVEMBER 18, 2019

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The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest collaborative celebration of disruptive innovators and job creators who bring ideas to life, help improve human welfare, inspire hope for those like-minded and contribute significantly to economies across the planet.

For over a decade, GEW has continued to inspire entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem at large to start and scale, launch new programmes, advance progressive SME policies, run entrepreneurial competitions and even award on-the-spot seed grants to various worthy startups.

It is also platform that helps a community of incubators and accelerators find better and faster ways to support the development and growth of young businesses. Many in the entrepreneurial space actually suggest that most of today’s successful, high impact startups once attended a GEW somewhere.

Annually, over 173 nations, ten thousand partners and ten million people globally participate in this much-anticipated and highly inspiring event, which runs from 18-24 November.

Locally, dozens of stakeholders will be celebrating GEW in different parts of the country, while over a thousand stakeholders and 500 000 people will be celebrating across the continent.

The GEW celebratory activities (which started yesterday) at the 22 on Sloane startup campus are:

Monday 18 November: Agro-processing, Energy, Manufacturing, Water

The opportunity to learn from experts, get informed on the latest industry trends and engage with various stakeholders.

Tuesday 19 November: Connectivity

Find out more about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and the Internet of Things from IBM and Microsoft experts and also engage with disruptive tech start-ups in the FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech and InsureTech space.

Wednesday 20 November: Mobile Gaming

Discover new trends in the gaming industry (mostly educational platforms) and engage with various experts and disruptive start-ups. Hack a Game – and learn how to build a game in just three hours!

Thursday 21 November: JSE

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange and 22 on Sloane are delighted to be a part of the official bell ringing session to open the markets – and hopefully this will be symbolic of new markets and opportunities opening for entrepreneurs all over the world.

Friday 22 November: Celebrating Entrepreneurs in Fashion and Design

This by-invite-only evening fashion show, hosted in partnership with Edcon and Proudly SA, will showcase graduates from the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge and promises to dazzle with exhibits from South Africa’s young and upcoming talent.

With dozens of world leaders joining in to celebrate entrepreneurs during GEW, we encourage various ecosystem stakeholders, supporters and policymakers to fast-track sustainable efforts to ensure that innovative businesses in their communities and at large can start and scale, especially amidst the burgeoning youth unemployment crisis in South Africa.

On the whole, Africa’s youth population is set to skyrocket over the next few years and is predicted to become the highest on the planet. This means relevant interventions across the continent must start immediately to ensure the development, reskilling and capitalisation of young people to make a meaningful living, while playing a sustainable role in their country’s economy.

 Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa – 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startup campus.