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According to the Resident representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Burkhardt Hellemann, the organization of the summit expresses the foundation’s strong faith in the potential of the African entrepreneurship ecosystem:
“We know that you are facing multiple challenges. In many countries the framework is not well in place to support the growth of new businesses. But we believe that you as an ecosystem have a lot of ‘power‘ to determine your own future and shape the framework you are working in: actively cooperate with governments to shape better polices; look for new financing instruments to become more independent from banks as well as from donor money; and establish partnerships with companies to create new synergies."
In February 2019, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) organized the 1st ever German African Entrepreneurship Summit (GAES) in Ghana. Being one of the biggest events of its kind, the event brought together over 200 representatives of the Pan-African entrepreneurship ecosystem to focus their experience and creativity on central questions of entrepreneurship in Africa and to learn from each other. The summit was on the theme, “Unleash the Ecosystem - to shape Policies, collaborate with Companies and determine its own Future.”
The event started from Monday 11th February to 13th February, 2019. On Monday 11th February, participants arrived and went through the registration process, went to their hotels and finally met at Osikan Ocean Rock Retreat for their welcome reception. It was a night of introductions and first impressions as some participants across Africa and beyond met and engaged with one another over food, drinks and music. The proximity to the sea also provided a wonderful relaxed atmosphere.
The GAES Summit on 12th February 2019, held several workshops that addressed topics such as Start-Up Financing, Hubs as a bridge between Academia and Companies, International Business mindset, Design Thinking, African Online Marketing Trends, Additive Manufacturing and Gamification. The workshops were highly appreciated by the participants and the entrepreneurs gained among others an insight in Shaping Entrepreneurship Policies, Cooperation between Startups&Companies and New Financing Instruments for startups. The presented and discussed topics helped the participants to progress their own business and to gain a better understanding of the intercultural business environment.
In the evening, motivated startups had the opportunity to engage in a pitch event to showcase and present their businesses and products to an audience full of stakeholders of the Entrepreneurship ecosystem. Out of these startups, six were selected to pitch again at the GABS on Wednesday 13th February, 2019 for some prizes and opportunities.
Wazinsure, Kenya Health Direct Global, Ghana Investiv, Côte d’Ivoire rePATRN, Ghana, Unleashed Africa, Tanzania Agritransportas, Ghana On the GABS, these Startups had the unique chance to pitch their business ideas in front of 500 representatives of German Businesses and a jury which included representatives of SAP and Siemens, who sponsored the pitch event. The representatives and the jury voted for the startup which most impressed them. In the end the Startup, Investiv emerged the winner, followed by rePATRN and Health Direct Global. However, Wazinsure also gave a convincing presentation so they were rewarded by SAP with a ticket to attend their mentoring programme.
With an interesting programme of workshops, panel discussions, brainstorming and disruption sessions, cocktail nights, a Fireside Chat which focused on the New Africa Entrepreneurship in the Age of Digitalisation and an opportunity to engage in a pitch presentation for startups, the summit addressed issues such as Networking, the African Online Marketing Trends, market barriers and opportunities, the value of involving civil society into policy shaping, Financial education (Gamification) and Dealing with European Business Culture.
Overall the GABS was a great opportunity for exchange, networking and initiating partnerships! The GABS is one of the most important German events in order to strengthen the economical relationship between Germany and African countries. According to Samuel Bako Prince of AgriTransportas Ltd. & M&M Xpress Travel and Tour Ltd. in Ghana, the Summit gave him the possibility to get in contact with business people in Germany:
“Qualifying and participating in the GABS Startup Pitch event has created more visibility for my business and has enabled me to expand my network as well.”