Digital Disruption, theme for GEC 2017

The world in which we live has become increasingly virtual as concepts such as “digital disruption” and technology disrupt the traditional ways of doing business and simplifying life. This is an increasing phenomena across various industries and sectors, both on the African continent as well as globally.

The digital disruption concept aims to explore how technology and digitization are revolutionizing industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, education and healthcare. The local organizing committee, which was established to prepare for Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Johannesburg, chose Digital Disruption as the official theme for the Congress.

“Digital disruption is transforming our economies and making vast improvements in our lives but it will require leaders from all parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and more to be nimble and adapt,” said the South Africa Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu.

“Those who embrace innovative new processes, policies and programs will be best positioned to seize the opportunities in front of them.” The Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) is the largest gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and policymakers from more than 160 countries and nearly 4,000 delegates. The global entrepreneurship ecosystem will gather in one of South Africa’s most innovative hubs – Johannesburg.

Speaking from the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) headquarters in Washington, D.C., Jonathan Ortmans, president of GEN, thanked all the partners who participated in the various focus groups in the theme selection.

“The theme of ‘digital disruption’ will create platforms of engagement between startups and corporations to create innovative new ideas, as well as provide a pathway to explore disruptive technologies in various industries in the African continent, and globally,” said Ortmans.

A member of the local organizing committee, Nyeleti Shirilele, executive governance at Hollard, echoed similar sentiments and encouraged all corporations to join forces and ensure greater collaboration and support for startups, and small and medium sized businesses.

The GEC 2017 Johannesburg will be hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Kauffman Foundation, SEA Africa, the City of Johannesburg, National Department of Small Business Development, Gauteng Provincial Government, Absa – a member of Barclays, Transnet, Hollard, Microsoft, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Telkom.

Okechukwu is the Executive Head, SEA Africa.