A private International investment group, Legatum in collaboration with Omidyar Network have launched an Inaugural Convergence conference that seeks to bring together investors, business leaders and entrepreneurs across the continent to accelerate economic growth in Africa.
The founder of the virgin group,Sir Richard Branson who will headline the conference, noted the contributions made by the entrepreneurs towards the growth across the continent adding the the efforts are as a result of determination, passion and inspiration. He said the conference which is scheduled for December 8th in Nairobi, will provide a platform for further developments in Africa.
“Entrepreneurs represent Africa’s future, their determination and passion has inspired me. Convergence Africa is a wonderful platform to bring together entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate growth across the continent.” Said Branson.
He added:”I’m delighted to be able to participate in this inaugural year and look forward to meeting many of Africa’s brightest business leaders.”
The conference will see the selection of the brightest entrepreneurs and their businesses in an exclusive session as fifteen venture capital and private equity firms from across the continent and oversees, will be engaged in pitches from amongst more than 30 pre-qualified potential investee companies. This will include principals from Actis, Development Partners International, GroFin, Heirs Holdings, Springhill Equity, among others.
According to the Managing Director of Legatum, Alan McCormick, the conference will create a platform for making connections and sharing the best practices in business to steer the contin ent’s continued growth. He added the forum comes at a very crucial time to complement the Africa Awards for entrepreneurship.
“Given the importance entrepreneurship in fuelling Africa’s continued growth, we believe Convergence Africa is the perfect complement to the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.”
Africa Awards for entrepreneurship which has been in existence for four years, has been rewarding business leaders who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and qualities needed in business success and those exhibiting inspirational qualities that can be transferred to the next generation of African entrepreneurs. This year’s rewards programme has expanded to include all the countries in the continent with over 3,300 entries submitted from 48 countries.
Six applicants will win cash prizes with the overall winner getting Sh9.5million (US$100000) as the rest receive 4.75million shillings each. This will be based on company’s profitability, return on investment and growth, long-term business strategy, leadership, culture and values, investment in employees, innovation to address market needs and contribution to the community.
The award programme will end with a Gala ceremony where the ten finalists and winners in the presence of an international audience of leading business people, investors, policymakers, and entrepreneurs will be honoured.
In addition to Sir Richard Branson and Tony Elumelu, former Group CEO of United Bank for Africa, now the Chairman of Heirs Holdings Group and Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Fred Swaniker, Founder of the African Leadership Academy and prominent investors, international journalists and seasoned entrepreneurs will also add their voices.