Entrepreneurs are driving the economic growth in South Africa. According to the City of Cape Town’s Alderman Belinda Walker, in terms of the long-term future of Cape Town, 2010’s Entrepreneurship Week was potentially more important than the World Cup. With a host of events designed to inspire, promote, showcase and advance entrepreneurship in the city, region and country, this year’s Telkom Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week, a City of Cape Town initiative, which takes place from 15 – 21 November, should be as memorable.
2011’s GEW in Cape Town
The Telkom Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week initiative forms part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and incorporates a wide range of unique events, designed to provide inspiration and insight not only to aspirant and existing entrepreneurs, but to all role players within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including government stakeholders, policy makers, SME service providers and educational institutes.
The event comprises a three-day conference, an expo of the same duration, as well as a range of community and satellite events, all of which will serve as platforms for idea sharing and partnership building, and highlight the importance of entrepreneurship as a means of accelerating job creation and creating an inclusive economy.
Free to the public
Organisers recently revealed a detailed programme line-up for the conference, which takes place at Cape Town City Hall from 17 – 19 November. The expanded conference now features a unique third day programme that is free to the general public, and is specifically designed to guide attendees through all aspects of the entrepreneurial journey – from developing and selling an idea to funding and managing their business’s growth.
“We decided to open up the third day of the conference to the general public, as the growth of the city’s economy is ultimately dependent on the capacity of our entrepreneurs to create and develop sustainable business strategies,” says event co-director Martin Feinstein. “The programme line-up will feature a number of renowned local and international speakers, who are ideally equipped to provide necessary guidance and inspiration to all forms of start-up enterprises.”
The first two days of the conference are targeted towards key role players within the city and country’s economic landscape, and will feature a mix of panel discussions and keynote speeches, that will look to assess the city’s entrepreneurial potential, and identify key partnerships, policies and programmes that can be implemented to drive more rapid development.
Lessons from beyond Cape Town
The conference will also investigate lessons that can be learnt from other cities, particularly in emerging economies, that have successfully implemented enabling entrepreneurial ecosystems. Speakers include Dr. Viral Tanapol, entrepreneurship expert and professor of management at Mahidal University in Thailand, and Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados Dia, Colombia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.
A three day exposition, also open to the public, will run in tandem with the conference, and looks to provide a wealth of support, guidance and networking opportunities for up-and-coming business owners. Exhibitors will represent a variety of sectors – from successful SMEs looking to showcase their work and share the secrets of their success, to organisations involved in small business support and enterprise development.
“This is an unprecedented and exciting initiative that is expected to have a real and lasting impact across all spheres of the community,” says Feinstein. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone in Cape Town to learn how they can become involved in the development of a thriving entrepreneurial economy, and put this city on the world map as an investment destination.”