With a majority of African nations diversifying from traditional sources of income, entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as a key to economic growth. Leading business forum Africa 2018, which was held in Egypt’s resort town of Sharm El Sheikh on the 8th-9th of December 2018 recognized this fact by hosting Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) on the first day of the forum. The forum brought Africa’s most inspiring business leaders as well as renowned captains of industries and key actors from the tech world to provide first-hand insights on business, leadership, technology and disruptive business models to support young entrepreneurs developing their business skills.
Finding the right partners, mentors and investors is paramount for successfully scaling up your business. YED offered young entrepreneurs several opportunities to meet leading angel investors, venture capital firms, accelerators, incubators and policy-makers via its spectacular DealRoom.
The YED concluded with an intergenerational dialogue attended by 5 start-ups and also Presidents Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
President Al Sisi said that “we are increasingly sending a clear message to the world that Africa is the future of the world economy and more so entrepreneurship.”
He highlighted the laws that have been promulgated in the country had been done to encourage youth to establish companies and empower them and called for the youth to never waiver from following their dreams.
President Kagame said the growth of Africa’s population was really not a threat but an advantage for Africa, but right investments are required to make it work. “The right investments are in our people but we need facilitation to get us where we want to go.”
With more than 60% of its population under the age of 25, sub-Saharan Africa is already the world’s youngest region today – and, by 2030, will be home to more than one-quarter of the world’s under-25 population. As this young population, the best-educated and globally connected the continent has ever had, enters the world of work, the region has a demographic opportunity.
“Today more than ever, we need to realize the economic potential of the continent’s young entrepreneurs and innovators to create millions of high-quality jobs and promote inclusive economic growth continent-wide”, said Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation about the importance of nurturing and promoting young entrepreneurs.
It is evident that the African entrepreneurship scene is sizzling and a lot of foreign and local players are helping to spice it up. Rebecca Enonchong, Founder, and CEO, AppsTech said, “What I would look for in an entrepreneur is grit, because I think being able to sustain in a very difficult business environment is essential. The business environment in the continent is quite challenging. You need to spend your blood, sweat, and tears to succeed.”
President Sisi concluded “We know you face challenges but these can be overcome with perseverance and creativity and by being self-confident and your determination to turn these dreams into reality,”