The 2022 BigFive summit concluded on Friday 13 May 2022 following a two-day affair jam-packed with insightful keynotes from Africa’s industry thought leaders.
2022 BigFive summit: Highlights from Day 2
The workshop, designed specifically for small business owners, returned for the first time in three years, to reflect on the strides made by Africa’s economy post-COVID-19.
On its second — and last — day, Telkom Consumer CEO Lunga Siyo kicked off the summit with a keynote on the interconnected relationship between the state-owned telecoms giant and startups, and how the tools and resources available on their digital marketplace, Yep!, is “a scalable solution to help grow and enhance the reach of local businesses.”
Chief Executive at Zindi, Celina Lee, followed up with a very insightful discussion about the potential of data science in bridging gaps between small businesses and audiences.
While attracting data scientists can be an expensive exercise, Zindi has found a more inclusive approach by connecting businesses to a growing community of Africa’s leading specialists in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The summit also heard from the likes of Khomotso Molabe, Chief Engineering Officer at Standard Bank, Leseli Lowland, founder and CEO of Ramalo Logistics and Michelle Gear from AdBot.
Perhaps, the highlight of the day came when Director of Capital Formation & Accelerations Brenton Naicker and Capital Future Advisory Director and author Steven Sidley led an eye-opening discussion about the future of blockchain and why it is so crucial for businesses in Africa to jump on the bandwagon while things are still idling.
Small business owners were also treated to an investor panel discussion on what venture capitalist firms are looking for in the short-term, led by Launch Africa Venture’s Wen Chin, Oyama Balfour from Penrose Capital and Yongama Skweyiya, Managing General Partner at IsimoVest Venture Capital Partners.
Key take aways on the future of Africa’s economy
To summarise the insights gained from the two-day affair, it is safe to say that the future of Africa’s economy is in the right hands.
Sure, bureaucracy and the technology gap are still strong deterrents in fast-tracking economic growth in the continent but innovative and forward-thinking leaders like Lolwana, who turned to eLogistics as a means to address future pain points in Africa’s food tech industry, are far ahead of the curve.
Standard Bank, one of the oldest financial service providers in Africa, is — slowly but surely — adjusting its attitude towards reaching out to SMMEs to provide aid to startups with little to no financial traction, an issue that plagues more than half of the marketplace.
Stephan Ekbergh, the founder of Travelstart, is on a mission to transform the Mother City into one of the world’s Top 5 digital hubs, using his connections in the Swedish economy to bridge opportunities at his tech hub Innovation Cape Town.
If there is one irrefutable fact about the future of Africa’s economy, it’s that it lies in the hands of forward-thinking small businesses.