South Africa will be the first African country to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in 2017.
“This is a great opportunity for South Africa and Africa, as a continent, to showcase its entrepreneurial prowess to the world,” Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu said at the Global Entrepreneurship Network recently.
The bid was awarded to Johannesburg as part of the opening ceremony at GEC 2015 in Milan, Italy.
The GEC is a meeting of start-up champions from more than 150 countries and attracts over 4 000 delegates.
These delegates represent distinct components of their entrepreneurial ecosystems and are focused on how best to help entrepreneurs start and scale new companies, the Department of Small Business Development said.
“The GEC is a platform that would open doors for our youth, ignite entrepreneurship and put our youth in the global arena,” Minister Zulu explained.
She said the award would help sustain the entrepreneurial spirit that is growing momentum of an entrepreneurial revolution that was given impetus by President Jacob Zuma when he announced the establishment of the new Ministry of Small Business Development.
“GEC 2017 will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders,” Minister Zulu said.
Member of the Mayoral Committee in the City of Johannesburg, Ruby Mathang, said the four-day conference would have significant economic benefits for the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors – approximately R45 million for Johannesburg alone.
“This is indeed an honour and also an opportunity to entrench the City of Johannesburg’s objective to encourage entrepreneurship in order to stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” she said.
The Congress has previously been held in the United States, United Arab Emirates, China, United Kingdom, Brazil, Russia and Italy.