The Hub identified six high-potential companies and investors who could benefit from its investment facilitation services at this year's Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The companies came from Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America to participate in the Global Agripreneur Innovations competition at the first Africa-held GEC. They presented highly innovative solutions focusing on water conservation, farm, soil management and clean energy solutions for cold storage. USAID South Africa's Mission Director officially opened the agripreneur competition, highlighting the U.S Government’s efforts in increasing trade and investment in South Africa and referenced the recently launched USAID South Africa Trade and Investment Hub as a resource.
GEC 2017 brought together an estimated 5,000 entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 160 countries. These delegates represent distinct components of their entrepreneurial ecosystems and are focused on how to best help entrepreneurs start and scale new companies.
South Africa’s Deputy Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the congress, stating that small businesses and entrepreneurship are the cornerstones of development and a solution for alleviating poverty on the African continent.
The Hub’s Investment Director, Ms. Kanini Mutooni, participated in a panel discussion on economic and social impact of entrepreneurs migrating from Africa and also co- chaired a roundtable with 20 African and European Angel investor networks discussing the challenges facing angel investing on the continent and how investors in Africa can learn from successful angel groups in Europe. Participants at the roundtable discussion concluded that angel investing is key to bridging the gap in early stage capital raising for young companies and agreed that investor education, government policy review on investment incentives and the need to support young companies become investor-ready are important requirements to building the angel investing ecosystem on the continent.