The British Council and Ashoka will, on Thursday, launch the virtual edition of Impact Africa Social Entrepreneurship Summit, which aims to accelerate social innovations in Africa’s most pressing challenges by inspiring and connecting social entrepreneurs, change-makers, investors and other ecosystem stakeholders across sub-Saharan Africa.
A statement said the summit, with the theme “Resilience and Sustainability,” re-designed and re-imagined as a virtual event for the first time, has been extended and expanded to run as a series of programmes over 12 months.
This, the statement said, will increase reach as well as open-up to a larger audience across sub-Saharan Africa, featuring six plenaries and six clinics every other month, and three to five virtual keynotes over two days.” It read in part: “It will support over 1,000 social entrepreneurs with tools, skills and new knowledge to accelerate their business growth and achieve wider societal impact.
“It will be a gathering of bright and innovative young minds looking to acquire access to new networks and help them to rethink their business strategies.
“The programme content also includes an Elevator Pitch competition that will enable the winners gain mentorships with some of the world’s largest organisations and venture funds as well as provide the opportunity to qualify for seed funding.
“With sessions that cover topics like 4th Industrial Revolution, Digital Preparedness, Investment Readiness, Business Modelling and Job Creation, to mention a few, Impact Africa Social Entrepreneurship Summit is open to young entrepreneurs in the key countries of Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa.
“It is anticipated to be one of the biggest Social Impact event on the continent. Our speakers range from social entrepreneurs to representatives from several major international organisations such as Microsoft, MTN, Anglo-American and SAP.
“Striving to be an inclusive event and reaching the underserved innovator, is a major consideration this year and, therefore, will feature sign language interpreters for the first time, who will participate in most sessions to open up to and encourage a wider, diverse audience.
“British Council and Ashoka are calling on all young social entrepreneurs as well as business innovators to register to be part of a unique ecosystem that is making good change happen across Africa.
“Visit the British Council Nigeria and Ashoka’s social media channels as well as the Impact Africa Summit website for more information.”
It noted that building on the inaugural Impact Africa Summit of June 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa and the 2019 summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, the 2020 live event was scheduled for Lagos, Nigeria, but had to be postponed to 2021, following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement quoted Moses Anibaba, British Council’s Regional Director, as saying “By delivering the summit virtually over a 12-month period, we believe that we can reach more young people and give them time to react to the tools, the content, the mentorship opportunities, the elevator pitches, and many more programmes that Impact! Africa 2021 has to offer.”
According to Lucy Pearson, Director British Council Nigeria and Director West Africa, “We also want to reach more women entrepreneurs and we want to provide access to budding, underserved innovators.
“The British Council and Ashoka aim to use this year’s summit to further push for the creation of an ecosystem of vibrant young innovators, passionate about making a significant change to their countries and to their communities.”
For Pape Samb, Ashoka’s Africa Diamond Leader, “Studies have shown that the economic damage has been particularly severe for small and medium scale businesses, youth and women in emerging markets.
“Impact Africa has become more necessary now in delivering a social entrepreneurship ecosystem, that will develop and deliver individual impactful solutions to support relief, recovery and resilience of African communities.”