The world marched into 2017 with a hastag that most can only comprehend as #IsThisReallyHappening? as 2016 was trending out of #Brexit and was greeted by the overnight surprise of #Trump. The Davos meeting used the theme Responsive and Responsible Leadership to inject some calm amidst the chaos while most of the entrepreneurs in attendance focused on how to take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It was also evident that the world is looking to entrepreneurs and innovation from human capital to help restore economic growth, reduce extreme poverty and inequality. This year then presents an exciting journey for entrepreneurship capacity development and South Africa will take centre stage in the very first quarter.
The local entrepreneurial ecosystem is buzzing with excitement as the headlines are clearing up from #Gupta stories and making way for the events that are attracting global audiences. Our very own State of the Nation Address (SONA) requires entrepreneurs to pay attention as the President will offer some hints about what to expect from government and the policy environment. SONA is in the very same week as The Mining Indaba and the trickle-down impact of these engagements can serve a healthy dose of growth for SME’s with the right offering. The Budget Speech is hot on the heels of SONA and this is where most businesses take their cue on how to plan for accommodating payroll and tax adjustments covering PAYE, UIF and VAT. This year’s budget will not only have us hold our breath when the Minister gets to the sin-tax part of his speech, but also when the rating agencies give their verdict when they mark our fiscal report card.
March is the month of great excitement for the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. The largest global entrepreneurship gathering is making its African debut with many highlights including a Ministerial Panel and an address by the Deputy President of South Africa. The Global Entrepreneurship Congress attracts more than 5000 delegates from over 160 countries and kicks off in Johannesburg on 13 – 16 March. The GEC is followed by the GEC+ on 17th & 18th March in Cape Town hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN) Annual General Meeting and public dialogue sessions under the theme “Entrepreneurial Mindset in Action”. The Foundation is heavily invested in both these gatherings and will contribute towards a variety of topics on the GEC2017 Agenda while it serves as the official host of the GEC+.
The Seedstars Summit on 6th April in Lausanne Switzerland will bring together entrepreneurs representing startups from over 70+ emerging markets. This summit will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging markets with the aim to strengthen collaboration and relationships with established ecosystems to broaden and deepen our common understanding of entrepreneurship capacity development.
In May Africa takes centre stage at WEF Africa when global leaders will descend on Durban. The Africa agenda will accommodate topics on divergence, diversification, human capital and innovation to take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution while at the same time challenges such as youth unemployment, climate change, low growth and extreme poverty will not escape attention. In the same month Get in The Ring will host its global conference in Singapore expecting more than 150 startups from over 100 countries competing for top honours in the ring!
The second half of the year gets momentum as we hit Spring time in South Africa with the SA Innovation Summit in the beginning of September. Later that month the ANDE Global Conference ,which always attracts leading contributors in the entrepreneurship capacity development arena, will cover the impact investing landscape in emerging markets and share the highlights from their State of the Small and Growing Businesses (SGB’s).
In November the Creative Business Cup allows us to experience the bridge and growing connection between entrepreneurship and the creative industries and is always one of the highlights during Global Entrepreneurship Week. GEW builds on a network of over 20 000 partners in more than 160 countries with 35 000 events reaching 10m people in one week to create and stimulate entrepreneurship awareness in all levels of society.
The Entrepreneurship Calendar for 2017 is jam-packed with exceptional gatherings that attracts the best and brightest in the ecosystem. The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is proud to be part of these conversations and always excited to make a contribution. This is how we live Entrepreneurial mindset in action!