31 Jul Photos: We had an excellent Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa
“This is the last call for young people to make a difference before the world goes into the bin. You that are here have stepped across the line to answer that call.” – Tom-Chris Emewulu, SFAN President
It’s been exactly one week since 300+ budding entrepreneurs from across the continent, and beyond, gathered at Ecobank Head Office over three days for the first-ever Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa. As with SFAN events, the atmosphere was charged from the very first day. Participants were immersed in an environment of education, excitement, and palpable camaraderie. We could not have achieved this awesome feat without our partners led by Ecobank Ghana Ltd. Below are some of the highlights:
Day 1: July 22 – Welcome and Bootcamp at the venue
After a welcome address by Rita Tsegah, Executive Director of Ecobank Venture Capital, the event kicked off into full gear with an insightful session on technology and product development by Ibrahim Misto, Vice President, Business Development – Africa, Emergent Payments. Afterward, Kristian Bengtsson – who came from Switzerland – took the floor to enlighten SEWAfrica guests on how to create value-based businesses. Other trainers for the day include Richard Darkey, founder of Skuttor, Kelvin Nyame, founder of Meqasa, and Prince Banini who stood in for Jorge Appiah of Kumasi Hive.
Day 2: July 23 – Bootcamp at the venue
The second day of Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa began with an intense and refreshing mental wellbeing workshop led by Akua Nyame-Mensah, Certified Int’l Coach and Babs Ofori, Wellbeing & Brand Coach. This session was one of the highlights of the event as participants were taught how to master their energies, understand their elements and craft an environment for success. This was a unique acknowledgment of the pressures of business life. Their session was followed by online privacy and legal workshop by Adu Ampofo, Managing Director, Velia Consulting Limited and Suzanne Butah, Legal Director, Guinness Ghana – which provided essential information for entrepreneurs. And then, Stephen Kemetse, Regional Head of Transaction Services, Group Ecobank educated participants on trends in digital banking and planning sustainable business funding.
SEWAfrica day 2 was rounded off with a Readyforwork Coaching Session which helped entrepreneurs to ask pertinent questions from industry experts.
Day 3: July 24 – High-Level Conference & Pitch Day at the venue
Day three was the climax of the EPIC event – featuring a high-level panel themed “Achieving Business Growth and Sustainability Through Intra-Africa Trade & Diaspora Collaboration” and the 10% Dialogue; a youth-led, multi-stakeholder dialogue on the role of education, the government, private sector, and the media in creating an enabling entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa.” These sessions hosted speakers such as Ayesha Bedwei, Tax Partner at PwC, Ziad Hamoui, Founding Member, Borderless Alliance in West Africa, Tucci Goka Ivowi, Deputy CEO & founding member, Ghana Commodity Exchange, Sean Burrowes, COO of Ingressive Capital, Maxwell Dodd, CEO, Econet Media Ghana, Miishe Addy, Co-founder, Jetstream, Emmanuel Gamor, President, Unpacking Africa 4.0, and so on.
“What we’re doing right now is to create the platform young people across the continent can stand on to build their dream businesses and create sources of livelihood for other youth in their communities.“– Tom-Chris Emewulu, SFAN President.
“Don’t focus on the challenges of being a woman in a position of leadership – business is business, leadership is leadership and money is money.“ – Tucci Goka Ovowi- Deputy CEO & founding member, Ghana Commodity Exchange.
Of course, we received a keynote speech from Toro Orero, partner at QI Holdings. He spoke about building the future – challenging participants to think without bounds: “When you think about the future, think of it in verticals and not in terms of the elements.“
#HotSectorsAfrica – Trends in digital payments, eCommerce, healthcare, agriculture, & education
This panel was created to shed light on sectors showing the most promise on the continent as well as educate participants on how to ride the current wave of innovation in building the future. The session was moderated by Meghan McCormick (co-founder of OZE) and featured speakers such as Dan Asare-Kyei, Ph.D. – CEO, Esoko, Pearlyn Budu, Country Manager, Jumia, Daniel Gyampo, Head of Audit, eProcess International S.A.
#CreativeHustle – How to harness & monetize your talents
Having talent is not enough, some people spend years mastering underlying technical or artistic skills but almost no time understanding the multiplier ability. Our trailblazers, Eyram Tawia, Co-founder, Leti Arts and Vimbai Mutinhiri, Executive Producer, mambo media really gave our guests so many tools to work with.
“I left a lot of money on the negotiating table before I made it my business to understand the business of television, budgets and how profit is made: if you don’t understand how every stage of your industry makes money, you might be missing out on monetizing a huge chunk of what you bring to the table.” – Vimbai Mutinhiri, Executive Producer, mambo media.
Pitch, Awards, and Demo
Participants met with investors from Ingressive Capital, QI Holdings and Intelligent Capital to pitch their businesses. And, the Student Entrepreneurs of the Year were also selected.
The winners of the entrepreneur of the year award were Baffour Adu Boampong, co-founder of payment processing platform Weflyp, Abdul-Inusa Harisu, co-founder of a VR enabled education platform Relu, and Ayodele James, co-founder of tech-integrated transport business FLOWW. Note: These awards go with a $3,000 scholarship on tuition by Silicon Valley-based Draper University to attend their Hero Training program.
Apart from the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award, we also recognized three outstanding participants with a $525 scholarship each to participate in a 3-month online incubation program by Bridge for Billions; a Spain-based digital ecosystem that connects early-stage entrepreneurs to growth opportunities worldwide. The winners are Kader Iboudo (from Burkina Faso), Rita Najjemba (from Uganda), and Osman Mohammed ( from India).
Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa wasn’t just another entrepreneurship event, it was a representation of the power of vision, partnership and teamwork. As we wait for the investors to finalize their due diligence and look forward to the phenomenal results of these young innovators that convened at the event, we’re reminded of the precious words of George Bernard Shaw: The people who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.
Many thanks to our partners, speakers, attendees, volunteers, and supporters for a phenomenal event! We look forward to seeing you at the next one!! The full photo gallery can be found here.
SFAN partners with companies, international development agencies, governments, charitable foundations, and individuals to unlock the potentials of young people and create a forceful, global community of innovators. Learn more about how to partner with us here.