The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and the Department of Small Business Development South Africa officially join forces to fast-track mutual objectives

From left: Jonathan Ortmans, President: Global Entrepreneurship Network and Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development: South Africa

After a schedule-packed working visit to Estonia and Finland, the Minister of Small Business Development South Africa, Ms Lindiwe Zulu recently returned to South Africa armed with a wealth of global entrepreneurial policy insights, specifically those related to start-ups.

The key highlight of the Minister’s trip was her participation in the Start-up Nations Summit, hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) in Estonia. At this pivotal event, a network of entrepreneurial policymakers from over 60 countries engaged to identify, test and track innovative policy levers and smart public sector-driven programmes for new and young businesses.

"Estonia is among the most forward-thinking governments in the world and we are happy to share our experiences in digital governance", said Liisa Oviir, Estonian Minister for Entrepreneurship. "Digital technologies have made a huge difference for our entrepreneurs - proof that governments across the world can also play a significant role to help their entrepreneurs start and scale faster", she added.

The Summit was the official conclusion of GEN’s Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017, a celebration of entrepreneurship boasting over 40 000 events with around 10 million participants in 170 countries.

For Minister Zulu and the GEN President Jonathan Ortmans, it now made perfect entrepreneurial sense to collaborate in a more official capacity and the Minister has signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to help fast-track the achievement of their mutual entrepreneurial development objectives.

The terms and understanding laid out in the MOU for collaboration include:

Participating in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and advocating for greater ecosystem cohesion;

Participating in international platforms, such as the Start-up Nations Summit (SNS) and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), including GEC+ in order to explore new markets and collaborations from which SMMEs can benefit;

Working with GEN Africa to realise the 2017-2020 Strategy across multiple industry sectors;

Engaging SMMEs to understand existing ‘red tape’ issues through platforms, such as the SMME Policy Hackathon;

Facilitating access to market for the SMMEs and start-ups by opening up new markets for businesses in countries through exhibitions and partnerships - and to ensure they are fully informed about government regulations in perspective countries;

Providing support to the 22 ON SLOANE Start-up Campus, an innovative GEN Africa initiative, which provides business development and advisory services to residents and walk-ins.

“For us to increase the rate of established high growth enterprises, we need to assist start-ups to scale and create a breed of enterprises that are sustainable, competitive and contribute to regional and global value chains”, Minister Zulu concludes.