Africa Buzzing with Entrepreneurial Spirit

The nature of African entrepreneurship is shifting in countries throughout the continent and GEW campaigns are adapting accordingly to continue to strengthen African entrepreneurial ecosystems. Recent reports are showing that several African countries are beginning to focus on opportunity entrepreneurship rather than necessity entrepreneurship – and that sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest number of people involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity.

July promises to be a busy month, as GEW hosts in countries such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe officially announce their GEW 2014 campaigns. Host organizations in Benin, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya and Madagascar are in the process of recruiting new partners and sponsors to grow and strengthen their campaigns. There is considerable interest in having all of the Africa hosts collaborate on a common event at a common time during GEW so we are looking for suggestions as well as leaders to make this happen. 


Foram Initiatives, the GEW host organization in Benin, has launched the country’s first-ever Student Entrepreneurs Fair where students will come up with entrepreneurship ideas and exchange best practices. GEW Benin enjoys a wide national reach and hopes to bring more government partners and sponsors on board this year.


GEW Cameroon will include activities in more than 10 parts of the country with the aim of connecting at least 20,000 young people and entrepreneurs. To accomplish this, GEW Cameroon aims to increase the number of partners and sponsors it has for GEW 2014.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

In May 2014, GEW DRC organized a two-day restitution workshop attended by 35 representatives from different stakeholder groups including government agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations and youth movements. More recently, a board of directors was formed to coordinate the GEW network. GEW DRC plans to host several activities this year including Get in the Ring, Future Agro Challenge and CleanTech competitions. They will also host activities such as website and app development training and competitions for documentary videos on youth entrepreneurship and startups in the DRC.


GEW Egypt is an ambitious campaign that aims to have 20 partner organizations as well as 10 universities organizing events targeting 15 - 30 year-olds with a focus on female entrepreneurship. In previous years, the GEW Egypt campaign was able to secure support from four government ministries. The aim for this year’s campaign is to expand on government support to achieve greater impact and outreach.


GEW Kenya marked the launch of its campaign this past May with a national entrepreneurship competition and a new TV show. GEW Kenya has a solid network amongst all the stakeholders in the ecosystem and is currently in talks with the Ministry of Industrialization and Entrepreneurship Development to have Get in the Ring hosted as a national event.


GEW Madagascar has created a new GEW board that will be announced during the upcoming launch of their GEW 2014 campaign. GEW Madagascar is hopeful about the country’s recent elections and strives to obtain more government support from the new government.


GEW Nigeria officially kicks off July 1, 2014 with a press conference and partners’ forum. To compliment its regular schedule of events, this year's GEW campaign will feature a school innovation competition, with 200 participating schools who will each receive the sum of $100 to come up with the most innovative business venture. The top three winning schools will be rewarded with a new computer lab from Samsung.


GEW Rwanda plans to have 50 partners for its GEW 2014 campaign, which will bring together policymakers as well as prospective and current entrepreneurs to help young people consider entrepreneurship as a career path.

South Africa

GEW partners in Johannesburg established “The GEW Joburg Platform” in 2010, where entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, thought leaders and policymakers work together to help bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, expand human welfare and unleash the innovative potential of young entrepreneurs.

This year, the focus of the platform will be on creating sustainable ecosystems for entrepreneurial growth. Startups, growth entrepreneurs, established businesses and ecosystem support organizations will gather to unleash ideas and meet other like-minded individuals to find creative formulas for sustainable success.

The GEW Joburg Platform will organize three days of events, one of which will be dedicated to design clinics targeting high school students. The first two days will include workshops, an interactive pitch session with 10-20 selected businesses, networking opportunities and many more. On the last day of the event a gala dinner will take place to celebrate successes and share lessons from interventions in previous years. Additionally, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) annual Design and Entrepreneurship awards ceremony will be held as part of the gala dinner. The founders of the GEW Joburg Platform are SEA Africa and the SABS Design Institute in partnership with Trstrl, Transnet, ABSA, IDC, SEFA, Shanduka, Department of Small Business Development and CAYE.


Congratulations to Elif Business Solutions, the official GEW Zambia host organization for winning a UNICEF bid for sanitation marketing training of SMEs in 47 regions. They are also in involved in financial literacy and business planning training across the country in partnership with FOCUS financial services and Finance Bank. GEW Zambia’s 2014 campaign aims to have 30 partners and 50 activities, including a three-day entrepreneurs forum targeting 1,000 participants. More recent news on GEW Zambia is available in this previous host update.


GEW Zimbabwe will launch its 2014 campaign in July. Empretec Zimbabwe, GEW Zimbabwe’s official host organization, has partnered with one of the local weekly business papers which will feature an article from Empretec team members on entrepreneurship in each issue. Empretec will also have several appearances on TV, radio and media in the lead-up to GEW.

Photo credit: University of Science of Kisangani

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Buke Cuhadar @bukec