SME Ministry on Colombia charm offensive



Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu will travel to Colombia in two weeks time with a strong local team on a charm offensive to attract investors and promote the country’s entrepreneurial culture. By Staff Writer

The minister will lead a South African delegation to attend the he 8th edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC 2016) under the theme The Business of Next at Medellin in Colombia.

Every year, the GEC gathers together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 160 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world

Zulu will also use the platform to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to come to South Africa during the first ever GEC on African soil (GEC 2017, Johannesburg: 13-16 March 2017).

“There is an entrepreneurial revolution that is going on around the world and team South Africa goes to Colombia to position the GEC 2017, Johannesburg by reaffirming the narrative that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders in South Africa, Africa and the world,” said  Zulu at the inaugural Partners Breakfast at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg on Monday.

“Today’s Local Organising Committees (LOC) Partners breakfast briefing gave me a great sense of comfort as positive strides in preparation for next year’s inaugural GEC 2017, Johannesburg, have been made. I am enthralled by the big ideas and possible narratives which the LOC will take to the GEC 2016. I am equally excited about the plans to capture the imaginations of all stakeholders in a memorable and uniquely South Africa manner and drive the message that South Africa is ready and open for business”.

South Africa could generate thousands of jobs by supporting small and medium enterprises and investing in high-growth startups using their entities such as the Industrial Development Corporation and National Empowerment Fund.

GEC 2016 will take place in an unexpected city where “The Business of Next” is a way of thinking that has radically changed a whole community. Medellín—a burgeoning startup hub that has been called by some the most innovative city in the world—promises to build on the successes of previous host cities: Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Liverpool, Shanghai, Dubai and Kansas City where it was launched in 2009 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Thokozile Xasa, Deputy Minister of Tourism, was also hoping that South Africa will benefit from attending the 2016 GEC and local entrepreneurs will benefit.

“Young people around the globe possess the collective power to change their lives, their communities and the world we live in. Just as they face daily challenges, young people are continually developing innovative, effective ways to improve their lives. By bringing together their wisdom and creativity, young people are shaping the entrepreneurial revolution. Understanding that investing in programmes and platforms, such as the GEC 2017, enables the development of young leadership, which is essential to social change now and for the future.”



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