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13-14 MARCH 2024

GEC+ AFRICA RECEIVES BACKING AT MEMORABLE MELBOURNE CONGRESS

Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Founder and President Jonathan Ortmans, opened the 2023 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Melbourne with remarks that enthused attendees and brought attention to the main focus of the gathering, which is “Transform Our World, Together.” The lively coastal city hosted thousands of global investors, policymakers, founders and entrepreneurship ecosystem builders over two days with the aim of furthering efforts to build a transformational and sustainable entrepreneurial global community, under the theme of “nation by nation, entrepreneur by entrepreneur.” In retelling the many ways in which GEN has undertaken the task of fostering world-wide ecosystem connections in over two hundred nations, he reminded the audience of who is at the centre of GEN’s endeavours: “Entrepreneurs are the true north star for all of us enablers here. And they are more important now than at any point in history. They are central to tackling global crises, spurring social change and improving the way we live and work - and care for each other. And, as our economists now know, with almost all the net new jobs coming from firms less than 5 years old, it is entrepreneurs who build economies. No longer can entrepreneurship be the side-ring at the circus, but must rather be at the heart of national and global economic policy.” With the 2023 GEN Impact Report stating that over 1.23 million entrepreneurs received support from GEN Global in the past eighteen months alone, the address sought to emphasise that the intention behind the congress was to equip attendees with insights on how to empower entrepreneurs in the same way. Ministers, community builders and policymakers engaged and explored available avenues that would either create - or further strengthen existing international linkages. The second day of the content-filled event featured the official announcement of the 2024 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Cape Town, South Africa alongside the country’s Small Business Development Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abarahams. GEN’s efforts to celebrate, motivate, support and connect entrepreneurs were emphasised and extended to Africa’s unique and burgeoning entrepreneurial landscape. Ndabeni-Abrahams urged the African ministers in attendance to participate in the congress and pledged to boost attendance numbers by personally inviting all fifty-four ministers from the African nations. The “Africa Nights” networking event, that was hosted that evening, brought together global attendees who expressed the eagerness to be included in the continental pitch events, following the success in finding winners in Nigeria, Algeria and Kenya. More countries, such as Senegal, Rwanda, Chad, Lesotho and Ghana, were added to the list as the continent-wide search for more inspiring entrepreneurs continues. The top three winners stand the chance of attending GEC+AFRICA on an all-expenses-paid trip and winning their share of $USD 100,000 GEC+Africa will serve as a continental agenda-setting platform, which will recognise the growth of the top performing and emerging African ecosystems, whose performance since GEN’s inception in 2008 have greatly increased. So far, some of South Africa’s thirty delegates consist of the CEO of the Small Enterprise Development Agency, the National Youth Development Agency, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropy South Africa, the Department of Social Development, as well as African Bank’s board members and Group Executives for Transformation and Sustainability. As the GEN policy continues to expand, GEC+Africa 2024 will be another site on which closer-knit connections between entrepreneurs, policymakers and investors will be encouraged and fostered to create solid support structures for entrepreneurs all over the world. To register for the GEC+Africa Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, from 13 – 14 March 2024, visit
https://gecafrica.co/