Cape Town – Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in 2017, it was announced at the opening ceremony at GEC 2015 in Milan, Italy on Tuesday.
The GEC is an inter-disciplinary gathering of start-up champions from more than 150 countries and attracts over 4000 delegates. These delegates represent distinct components of their entrepreneurial ecosystems and are focused on how best to help entrepreneurs start and scale new companies.
Accepting the award in Milan, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said this would sustain the momentum of an entrepreneurial revolution in South Africa. “GEC 2017 will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders", said Zulu.
Zulu praised the efforts of the bid partners. “This is a great opportunity for South Africa and Africa as a continent to showcase its entrepreneurial prowess to the world,” she said. “The GEC is a platform that would open doors for our youth, ignite entrepreneurship and put our youth in the global arena.”
Speaking on behalf of the City of Johannesburg, mayoral committee member Ruby Mathang said this was an opportunity to entrench Johannesburg’s objective to encourage entrepreneurship. “A large four-day conference like this … has significant economic benefits for the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors – approximately R45m for Johannesburg alone.”
The GEC has previously been held in the US, UAE, China, UK, Brazil, Russia and Italy.
Global Entrepreneurship Network president Jonathan Ortmans said it continued to expand its involvement in Africa in support of helping the next generation of entrepreneurs. “Johannesburg will provide an important backdrop for start-up champions everywhere to come together in building one global entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he said.
The successful bid is a product of a partnership between the city’s Convention Bureau and SEA Africa, a research and development company. SEA Africa supports businesses in various African markets and is also a key role player in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week in South Africa.
Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu and MMC for Economic Development in the City of Johannesburg, Ruby Mathang, after the announcement that Johannesburg was awarded the rights to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017.