Entrepreneurship in Africa has been steadily rising in the past decade, with growing access to technology, skilled talent and diverse markets being key drivers for this growth. Many emerging economies in Africa have demonstrated a strong potential to leapfrog traditional western markets through the adoption of digital solutions for local needs(i.e mobile money). Much of this has been through the resilience of entrepreneurs on the continent and abroad and their willing to take risks and to create products or services that address local strategic needs through innovation and local design.
As entrepreneurship continues to increase across Africa and the shift towards self-reliant economies become more mainstream, the role of entrepreneurs in accelerating economic development will continue to be vital. There is no shortage of ideas, opportunities and hustle in Africa, however the challenge continues to be; how can we nurture and support a collaborative ecosystem of the next generation of African entrepreneurs?
Think this is an important question, especially from the lens and perspective of the African diaspora; what can we do to support and showcase the emerging start-up potential in Africa and those of Africans abroad? The one thing that comes to mind in creating a collaborative ecosystem of entrepreneurs is to begin by first supporting start-up initiatives within our local communities; brand ambassadors, advisory partners or early stage seed investors.
As a community, we usually tend to engage or support rising entrepreneurs (especially in emerging markets/diaspora) when there is a considerable potential to scale or whenever there is a buzz! But by creating a start-up culture that embraces risk, that adopts the failing fast and mentorship mantra we can inspire a supportive ecosystem of entrepreneurs from the bottom up. This is one of the areas I’m most passionate about; building relationships among the African diaspora/friends of Africa in Canada to drive solutions for building a stronger and connected entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Friends of Africa (FOA) Summit
The Friends of Africa Economic Development(FOA) Summit is one example of an initiative that I’ve been engaged with when it comes to promoting the emerging socio-economic opportunities in Africa. The theme of FOA2017 will be- Entrepreneurship: Building Economic Stamina for Growth and will be on October 6-7 2017 @ the Marriott Airport Hotel Toronto.
FOA2017 will be a great opportunity to exchange ideas with senior leaders from business (Futurpreneur, Barbados Stock Exchange, Chamber of Commerce), government (Canadian Federal MP’s, High Commissioners from Africa) and community organizations on how to accelerate entrepreneurship in Africa and abroad. Friends of Africa Economic Development Summit 2017 will also be a unique opportunity to establish strategic partnerships among various Afro-investors in North America and Africa.
There is no better time to start than now, the opportunities and benefits that come with creating a strong start-up ecosystem in Africa and abroad are endless.