Africa’s tech ecosystem to engage on megatrends that will leapfrog African innovation

The Global Startup Awards (GSA)

Breakthroughs in advanced technologies; the proliferation of blockchain across industry; and the pressing issues of sustainability and Intellectual Property (IP) are fast becoming the most valuable commodities of the information age. This and more will be topics of discussion as various sectors of the value chain from government and banks to corporates and educational institutions converge at the first-ever Global Startup Awards Africa Summit, taking place from 14 to15 June 2022 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). 

African innovators, thought-leaders and decision-makers will have access to the most comprehensive network of key industry experts that will leapfrog/accelerate African innovation in line with the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). 

Together with corporate partners that have evolved within the startup ecosystem, these representatives from world-leading organisations will help co-create a future market that will stimulate trade within Africa and Africa to the world – stimulating cross-border collaborations and trade.  

Such cross-border collaborations will attract investment into Africa, create entirely new markets, and disrupt industries. The purpose of the summit is not only to be able to solve challenges collaboratively but to re-align Africa as a world-class destination for innovation – making it a hotspot for untethered business. 

To this end, the event is being supported by public sector organisations such as WESGRO and South African Tourism, specifically in relation to its contribution to local business tourism.  

Bjorn Hufkie, South Africa National Convention Bureau’s General Sales Manager, says “this summit is a true reflection of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) which was launched in November 2020. The ERRP Plan aims to build a new economy and unlock South Africa’s true economic potential. It identified tourism as one of the priority areas of intervention in the ERRP, especially with infrastructure development; mass public employment; green economy interventions; the inclusion of women and youth; and skills development.” 

To keep up with the rapid evolution of technology, corporations are under pressure to include innovation strategies in their models. Now more than ever, traditional businesses are seeing increased value from a partnership with startups, who bring fresh, agile, and innovative thinking to the boardroom. 

Blockchain, sustainability and impact areas such as the future of funding and gender-lens investing in Africa are just a fraction of discussion topics that will be dissected by leading industry experts. 

Industry leaders such as Ian Putter, Head of the Blockchain Centre of Excellence at Standard Bank Group and Regional Director of the Blockchain Research Institute Africa, will share their insights on unlocking Africa’s growth and cascading opportunities through blockchain and digital assets. By sharing insights on the evolution of corporate innovation, industry leaders will explore how the opportunity that trends like ‘intrapreneurship’ and open innovation present to corporates looking to future-proof their operations, and to startups looking to harness potent partnerships for growth and scale. 

According to Putter the shift in African markets is taking place as a grassroots and collaborative transformation.  “Building financial literacy, education, and awareness at the level of communities and providing them tools to help empower themselves is a priority for us. Standard Bank remains at the forefront of research and development of blockchain and distributed ledger technology in the African context, committed to the exploration of efficient digital payment rails and financial services that enable African commerce to flourish,” Putter adds.  

The event will allow startups representing ten countries from across the African continent the opportunity to present to and workshop with industry experts, corporates, policymakers, and institutions and universities such as Stellenbosch University, who are seeking to collaborate and invest in SDG-aligned technologies from Africa. The Director for Technology Transfer at Stellenbosch University, Professor Madelein Kleyn will speak to how policymakers across the continent are adapting their Intellectual Property (IP) strategies to promote innovation and boost the competitiveness and sustainability of African businesses in the global market. 

Hermann Haupt, Vice-president of Sub-Saharan Africa, CHEP, has expressed the company’s commitment to finding sustainable solutions through African innovators through this summit.  

He comments, “For the African continent to prosper and take its rightful place in the global community, it needs to broaden its base with economically active and productive citizens. This can only be achieved by creating more jobs and opportunities. Startup enterprises and entrepreneurs are crucial to realising this ambition. Furthermore, business, as we know it, has come to a crossroads with global temperatures rising due to past practices. This event is exciting on several counts at it speaks to widening the base of the economically active population and celebrating the successes of young talented entrepreneurs, but it also speaks to those interventions that contribute to a more sustainable planet for future generations.” 

As the summit is the first of its kind, corporates will have the opportunity to unpack how corporate partnerships have evolved over the past years in the innovation ecosystem. The value-chain of innovative solutions, which are SDG-aligned, will collaborate with some of the leading significant corporate partners such as RCS, the V&A Waterfront, Africa-Berlin Network, and FETOLA, to name a few.  

By bringing all these stakeholders together in this manner, the Global Startup Awards Africa Summit aims to give all attendees access to a network of innovators, world-leading organisations, and decision-makers by sparking conversations around blockchain, Intellectual Property, the future of funding and gender-lens investing, global market access & partnerships and megatrends – innovating for sustainability and circular economies in Africa.  

The result will harness a collective power in efforts to attract global investment and collaboration, and in the same sentiment, co-create a future market that is a win-win scenario for all, across the value chain – providing the ecosystem the ability to amplify and scale globally. 

Altogether, this will reinforce Africa as the tech continent of the future. 

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