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All About GEC 2017

​The latest instalment of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg between 13 and 16 March 2017 in a historic first for the African continent.​

The Global Enterprise Network launched the annual Global Enterprise Congress (GEC) in 2009. The networks hosts events around the year with the aim of creating a single collaborative entrepreneurial system. Every year, thousands of delegates from over 160 countries gather to talk about entrepreneurial developments.

Johannesburg is known as a thriving hub of entrepreneurs and a cornerstone for economic development in Africa. It is thus the ideal location in which to inspire delegates while indicating that South Africa is a leader of entrepreneurial development on the continent.

The bid for GEC 2017 was awarded to the city in 2015 at that year’s opening ceremony in Milan. Bringing the congress to Johannesburg was a collective effort by the South African Small Business Development Department, SEA Africa, the City of Johannesburg, and Barclays Africa. At the time of being awarded the honour, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the GEC would work on the momentum started by the creation of the department in 2014. It is hoped the congress would benefit entrepreneurs all over the continent.

SEA Africa, a specialist research and development company deeply involved in African enterprises, was vital in securing the bid and believes the congress will aid entrepreneurs in leveraging their businesses and inspiring collaboration between countries and innovators.

Over 5,000 delegates are expected to attend this year, giving Africa a unique opportunity to showcase its entrepreneurial drive and spirit. Every speaker, of which there are over 60, will bring with them knowledge of parts of entrepreneurial ecosystems that will aid start-ups begin their venture or grow it. 

The theme of GEC 2017 is ‘Digital Disruption’, a pertinent issue in today’s world of digital challenges that businesses face and can overcome - with a little help. This is the purpose of the congress this year: to aid entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners avoid falling into the trap of ignoring digital progress and technologies to instead come face to face with them to modernise and grow with the times. Speakers will focus on how start-ups and corporations can become digital disruptors themselves, make collaborations that will change industries, and create and make use of innovative technologies.

Every day of the congress is filled with hours of inspirational and insightful talks given by experts in entrepreneurship, digital strategy and revolution, and technological developments. 

The congress features an exhibition of start-ups from the host country and the world, providing an excellent networking opportunity, while several entrepreneurial support organisations are also exhibiting.

There is no cost to participate in the Congress, but delegates are responsible for their own accommodation, transport, and any other expenses incurred while in attendance. Tourvest is the official travel partner for GEC 2017. There are several hotels in and around Sandton to make accessing the venue convenient. The dress code is business casual, unless you are attending the Compass Awards and Gala Dinner (which are by invitation only), in which case semi-formal or traditional attire is expected. Free Wifi will be provided through the conference.

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

Visit to register as a delegate at no charge.

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