The Global Entrepreneurship Congress Africa (GEC+ Africa) partnered with GEN Nigeria to host the first Pitch Competition event in Lagos, Nigeria ahead of the congress. The entrepreneurship regional pitching competitions aim to bring in startups and SMMEs from across the continent to showcase their businesses. This will be an opportunity to highlight Africa’s innovative startups and SMMEs, and a platform to strengthen each country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
To get participants investor-ready to deliver effective pitches, we hosted a pitch bootcamp in partnership with Google Africa, Google for Startups, and Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy South Africa, facilitated by Folarin Aiyebusi, the Head of Startup Ecosystem in Africa at Google.
On the day, 17 Startups and SMMEs pitched to an audience of 200 people who attended physically, and more than 40 virtually, with the hopes of being part of the top 15 African SMMEs who will pitch on the GEC+ Africa 2024 stage.
GEC+ Africa Project Lead, Ms Carmen Rossouw provided attendees with deeper insights on the GEC+ Africa congress and highlighted the value that Startups, SMMEs, Policymakers, Investors, and ESO's will get by participating and partnering in GEC+ Africa 2024.
"We are not charging for registration or limiting access, we want ALL entrepreneurs at the congress. All sectors are welcome" she added.
Mr Obaro Osah, Divisional Head of SMMEs at the Bank of Industry also blessed the stage with a keynote address and shared how the Bank of Industry is supporting businesses in Nigeria: "Startups and SMMEs in Nigeria contribute 48% of the national GDP, which accounts for 96% of businesses, and 84% of employment. This shows that business is not a fly-by-night thing”.
Following that was a panel discussion 'Connecting Africa: Strides in the Nigeria Startup Ecosystem' moderated by GEN Nigeria Program Director, Egbuna Uchendu. The panel comprised of Providus Bank, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Climate Innovation Centre, the Bank of Industry, as well as GEN South Africa.
Mahlatse Tolamo, GEN South Africa’s Managing Director assured attendees that “GEC+ Africa will act as a catalyst that encourages discussions amongst researchers, policymakers and ministers. This will be a platform that will be used to discuss policies that affect the growth of startups and SMMEs through knowledge sharing and collaboration”.
We were honoured to meet Victoria Oluwaseun Oyewusi, an entrepreneur whose business blossomed after making and maintaining the various networks she formed at the 2017 GEC Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa. She emphasised the need for entrepreneurs to actively pursue opportunities to scale their businesses by engaging the people they meet at global congresses like GEC. Now employing over two thousand staff, Victoria’s story added to the overall mood of motivation which fuelled the event. Attendees were left inspired and encouraged as she urged them to view global events such as GEC as platforms that would further bolster their businesses.
The day ended on a high note when the top 3 Regional Pitch Competition winners were announced: Strich Inc – which is a mobile application that makes it easy for you to manage inventory, track sales, accept payments, and grow your business; Schrodinger Technologie – an SME that produces and manufactures safe drinking water equipment using Solar Energy technology, and Wano which is a WhatsApp API that helps users build personalized apps and automation on WhatsApp. Winners received a great applause for showcasing their innovative businesses which all won the opportunity to be part of the GEN Nigeria Venture Build Programme.
Wano took the overall prize of an all-inclusive trip to Cape Town, South Africa to pitch to investors on the GEC+ Africa stage in 2024.
We would like to thank GEN Nigeria and its partners, Enterprise Development Centre and Providus Bank for collaborating with the GEC+ Africa team and hosting a successful leadup activity event.
Find out more about the next pitching competition taking place in your country here: www.gecafrica.co/lead-up-activities/
To register for the GEC+ Africa congress in Cape Town, South Africa, from 13 – 14 March 2024, go to: www.gecafrica.co/