EntrepreneursOnTheMove, a platform for building capacity of entrepreneurs while mobilizing key enablers and investors in the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems in Africa comprising startups, business leaders, investors, and government officials involved in entrepreneurship, convened participants in a 3 day event. The meeting culminated in the signing of a MoU between GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation (GCAF) and Digital Africa, an initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The vibrancy and powerful spirit of the entrepreneurial and technology ecosystems of the African continent was on full display in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast earlier this month. Under the banner EntrepreneursOnTheMove: Investing in Africa’s future (#EOM), key players from African entrepreneurship ecosystems came together to develop new initiatives and find answers to the most pressing topics and questions facing African entrepreneurship today.
(TOP: GCAF CEO, Thomas Festerling, at the award ceremony with Daniel Birindwa Makombe, Founder of the Congolese start-up SACPA, which transforms banana leaves into 100 percent ecological degradable packaging materials).
From October 2 to 4, 2019, the #EntrepreneursOnTheMove conference, co-organized by GCAF, a German NGO created in 2018 by the investment company GreenTec Capital Partners, and the Land of African Business (LAB), one of the active players in African entrepreneurship, was held in Abidjan with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Côte d’Ivoire and Incub’Ivoir.
In its first edition, this collaborative format exceeded the expectations of a diverse audience of start-ups, business leaders, investors, and government officials involved in entrepreneurship. Among them, Minister Euphrasie Yao, President of the Women’s Compendium as well as representatives of the World Bank, African Development Bank, and International Finance Corporation. In total, more than 300 stakeholders from more than 20 countries came together at the conference.
During the event, entrepreneurs had the opportunity to connect with their peers from other countries as well as investors and pan-African enablers who can support them.
A delegation of investors in attendance took part in an ecosystem tour of Côte d’Ivoire to get to know the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and engage in match making with potential investees. “Finance in Motion”, the largest German impact investment fund was among the investors exploring the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Abidjan during #EOM.
A special focus of the event was on youth and female entrepreneurship because female entrepreneurs have proven to be successful, driven, and to be potent drivers of economic impact with their businesses. Altogether, more than 70 Start-ups benefitted from #EOM with prize money, capacity building, shared learnings, and international exposure.
The aim of #EOM19 was to serve as a catalyst for initiatives that enable young African entrepreneurs to develop and replicate their businesses on the continent. The pan-African approach taken by #EOM brought together stakeholders from across the continent and the diaspora.
The MoU between GCAF and Digital Africa aims to further improve the conditions under which African entrepreneurs work and generate more attention for the important role that entrepreneurs play with regards to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
#EOM19, was a co-production between Ivorians, Germans, and French to create synergies between all relevant stakeholders and serve as a connecting point between enablers, startups, investors, and political leaders, so that joint actions can be developed.
“#EOM will be an annual event aiming to become the reference platform for building the capacity of entrepreneurs while mobilizing key investors and enablers in the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems across Africa. Because we believe in ecosystem collaboration, we partnered with key organizations such as Incub’Ivoir, Jokkolabs, Fondation Jeunesse Numérique, SeedSpace, Women in Tech Africa, and we are looking forward to joining forces with more partners who want to make a change,” says Thomas Festerling, CEO, GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation.
Founded in 2014 by journalist Eric Bazin, Le LAB (or Land of African Business) has supported more than 45 African start-ups. It seeks to promote inclusive initiatives on the African continent, following the sustainable development goals, in promising sectors: fintech, agro-business, education, ICT, transport.
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