The 7th Edition of the African Entrepreneurs Conference: Spotlighting Opportunities for Africa-Based Businesses
Unleashing the Potential of African Entrepreneurship
This is a particular time to be an Entrepreneur whether you have years of experience and are a trained business person or have newly entered the game. In the extraordinary circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, conventional ways of doing business no longer apply and strategic adaptability is key. On a global scale, many start-ups have suffered during the virus outbreak but the current context has also led to an increase in entrepreneurial activity to manage the risks associated with the crisis, reacting fast and flexibly to the changing business landscape. Certainly, launching a start-up at this point in time takes courage. Although, the current crisis may also create short-run and longer-run opportunities especially in the digital sector. As for the African context, there is a positive expectation that the Covid-19 crisis could present a turning point towards building Africa up to high speed and intensifying digitalisation. The impact and potential of African innovators in creating original technology tools that can help to fast track the continent’s economic and social development. With a fully equipped toolbox for business success and professional mentorship for guidance, what begins with an innovative business idea can flourish into a high-performing enterprise.
Mark Your Calendar: The AIEC Annual Conference
The African Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (as of now, AIEC) has this thinking at the core of its agenda. Established in 2012, AIEC provides business developmental support and advisory services to aspiring Africa-based entrepreneurs who aim to develop a career path as a business leader. AIEC is committed to setting up an enabling environment for healthy competition among aspiring creative people in business and matching them with experienced entrepreneurs whom they can network for mentorship and sharing of ideas to create market opportunities among themselves.
This year marks the seventh consecutive globally recognised annual Event for AIEC providing a platform whereby entrepreneurs based in Africa come together to network with European investors through dialogue and knowledge-sharing, showcase their business plan, and exchange their business experiences with colleagues. In the extraordinary circumstances under Covid-19, the Conference will go head virtually on the 26th and 27th of November in consideration of the social distancing measures.
The event is targeted at Africa-based small and medium-sized enterprises seeking to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills to become growth-oriented businesses. AIEC pools together quality conference guest speakers in various fields of expertise from global leadership and technocrats to academics to discuss business-related topics on Africa’s investment solutions to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth, alleviate poverty and create employment opportunities. We are looking forward to this extraordinary edition and expect a high participation rate given the negative impact of Covid-19 on job losses.
AIEC will be hosting two more complimentary two-day events to the grand Conference in November that is the Virtual Idea Competition scheduled on the 17th and 18th of October, and the 7th and 8th of November 2020. The purpose of the Competition is to strengthen Africa’s start-up ecosystem. Applicant Africa-based entrepreneurs will benefit from a platform to pitch their innovative business plans to a jury panel including industry experts, investors, and skills development facilitators. The top five start-ups will receive a first-rate mentoring and handholding support programme for three months free of charge as well as sponsored tickets for the AIEC Conference in November.
Becoming a Successful Female Entrepreneur
Making a successful career is a male-dominated industry like that of business can be challenging for women who have to reconcile work with household duties and confront the uncomfortable sense of being viewed as less rational and less capable of performing certain activities. This gendered culture exists in the developed Global North and is exacerbated in the developing Global South. In the agriculture sector, women are expected to learn how to navigate masculine farming and endure the challenges connected to gender inequalities because of cultural stereotypes and exclusionary legislation associated with land rights and credit access. The opportunities for value chain benefits are gendered. Women in agriculture are concentrated in low-value addition activities and women in markets are restricted to least profitable nodes because of lack of information and technical support.
A recent African Union (AU) study reveals that close to 20 million people are at risk in the continent as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and most African economies are projected to shrink this year. Undoubtedly, the stock market has suffered, businesses both big and small, male or female-led have taken a hit and many entrepreneurs have lost their jobs. We encourage women entrepreneurs specially to sign up and actively participate in the AIEC Conference for an opportunity to showcase their business concept, connect with the right people, and learn from colleagues and industry experts through sharing experiences. AIEC is committed to creating a platform that is gender-neutral, friendly, and professional where smart business ideas are exposed and supported by expert mentors.
EuroAfri Link and AIEC Join Forces to Empower Africa-Based Entrepreneurs
In August 2020, AIEC and EuroAfri Link entered a strategic Partnership combining AIEC’s influential network of successful African entrepreneurs and EAL’s market consulting services, providing Africa-based innovators with business opportunities in Europe. The AIEC-EAL Partnership brings together deep skills in networking and business consultancy to empower sectoral stakeholders based in Africa with cutting-edge industry content and insights supporting their transition to successful business transformation for prosperous and sustainable investments.
We are proud to invest effort in a project that has global recognition and the potential to make a powerful social impact for Africa’s start-up ecosystem. The AIEC Conference is fundamental in not only providing business support and investments but also in building a solid and reliable network for community support among business colleagues which can be a vital factor to increase resilience to persevere in challenging times.
Patience Chindong, Co-Founder of EuroAfri Link and Claudia Zaccari, Project Officer.