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

The eagerly-awaited event attracted over 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 and welcomed all to what is set to be a jam-packed and dynamic cauldron of vibrant entrepreneurial energy. 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.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week (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. Over 167 countries participated with 17 000 partners, 39 000 events, eight million people and a whopping USD$159million 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 (Wednesday) 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 organization’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 the latest 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 from around the world.
  • Ensure compliance, regulation and assistance with business-based legal matters.
  • Grow and evolve your tech start-up into a fully-fledged Microsoft partner.

The Microsoft Tech Day will also offer sessions on Cloud Computing, Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, to name a few, which includes building an AI station from scratch on the day.

Included in the programme is a Youth and Social Entrepreneurship Day, which will be led by SAB Foundation on Thursday and a Funding Day on Friday, which will be led by the Industrial Development Corporation and various Venture Capitalists.


To find activities happening in your community/city, visit:

To attend GEW events at 22 on Sloane, visit:

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