Johannesburg to host Africa’s first-ever Global Entrepreneurship Congress

The Design Institute is committed to develop new entrepreneurial businesses and to increase the success of existing SMMEs, using a design-based approach. To this end, we are delighted that South Africa has earned the right to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in 2017. The bid was awarded to Johannesburg during the GEC 2015 in Milan, Italy. The Design Institute played a significant role in securing this opportunity through its dynamic contribution to entrepreneurship development in the country over the past eighteen months.

Accepting the award on behalf of Johannesburg South Africa, Lindiwe Zulu, South Africa’s Minister of Small Business Development said, “I am confident that this award will help sustain the momentum of an entrepreneurial revolution that gained impetus by the establishment of the new Ministry of Small Business Development. GEC 2017 will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders” said Minister Zulu.

The Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) is an inter-disciplinary gathering of start-up champions from more than 150 countries and attracts over 4000 delegates. These delegates represent distinct components of their entrepreneurial ecosystems and are focused on how best to help entrepreneurs start and scale new companies.

“This is indeed an honour and also an opportunity to entrench the City of Johannesburg’s objective to encourage entrepreneurship in order to stimulate economic growth and create jobs, while also emphasising Joburg’s credentials as a leading business events destination, capable of hosting such important global meetings,” says Ruby Mathang, City of Johannesburg’s MMC for Economic Development. “A large four-day conference like this, which is expected  to attract some 4000 international delegates has significant economic benefits for the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors – approximately R45 million for Johannesburg alone.”

The Congress has previously been held in the United States, UAE, China, UK, Brazil, Russia and Italy. South Africa is now proud to be the first African country to host the event.

“The Global Entrepreneurship Network continues to expand its involvement in Africa in support of helping the next generation of entrepreneurs there to rebrand the continent and permanently shift perceptions,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “Johannesburg will provide an important backdrop for startup champions everywhere to come together in building one global entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

At the GEC in Milan, Minister Lindiwe Zulu praised the efforts of all bid partners, which were instrumental as a team to ensure that the bid came to South Africa.

“This is a great opportunity for South Africa and Africa as a continent to showcase its entrepreneurial prowess to the world. The GEC is a platform that would open doors for our youth, ignite entrepreneurship and put our youth in the global arena” emphasised the Minister.

The successful bid has come about as a result of a partnership between the City’s Convention Bureau and major bid partner, SEA Africa, a research and development company with a global reach.  SEA