Johannesburg, 16 August 2018
“The next century belongs to Africa”— Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, expressed his vision of the potential of Africa to be an active and prominent player in the global digital economy, to a full audience at the Wits Linder Auditorium last Wednesday.
The event, Netrepreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions conference, was a collaborative effort between the Alibaba Business School, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Jack Ma Foundation, with the intention of igniting the entrepreneurial spirit across the continent.
Giraffe was invited to participate in the occasion together with thought leaders, policy makers, venture capitalists, educators, and entrepreneurs to debate and discuss the unique challenges facing Africa and how to best advance the ecosystem to support African entrepreneurs tackling our continent’s most pressing issues.
The conference marks Jack Ma’s second trip to Africa and demonstrates an increasing commitment from the Alibaba founder to support African entrepreneurs, having last year launched the eFounders Fellowship. eFounders is a programme dedicated to training 1000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets, 200 of whom will come from Africa, with the goal of fostering a community of young entrepreneurs to champion innovation in their home countries.
Ma’s keynote address served as a call to action for all African entrepreneurs, reiterating that, “it is the entrepreneur that will drive Africa’s economy.” To catalyse his vision of empowering a new generation of African innovators, Ma announced the Netrepreneur Prize, a contest that will award $10 million to entrepreneurs focusing on internet driven business across the continent over the next 10 years.
Ma’s speech was filled with actionable insights for aspiring African entrepreneurs and startups. His lessons stem from when he started Alibaba in China 19 years ago, in an environment that is analogous to present day Africa with regards to the lack of logistics infrastructure, ubiquitous internet access and e-payment solutions.
He empathized that it is precisely in an environment of these deficiencies that there exist great opportunities for entrepreneurs to solve big problems. He stressed that entrepreneurs should view these deficiencies not obstacles, but as opportunities to build great businesses. Entrepreneurs should act now, since choosing to wait for the perfect environment to start your business often means that the opportunity for radical innovation will no longer be there.
As an entrepreneur, you should challenge yourself to think globally as there is no value in thinking small. He imparted that— “if you only think about your own country, there is no difference between thinking about your own country and your own village. The internet connects everywhere.”
In a similar vein, Giraffe views limited access to jobs not as a problem but an opportunity to bridge the gap between jobseekers and employers, enabling businesses to streamline their recruitment process and hire the best staff faster and more affordably than any other way.
Giraffe is a fully-automated digital recruitment solution that enables businesses to hire high volumes of medium-skilled workers faster and more affordably than any other recruitment method. Because Giraffe has automated the entire recruitment process – from sourcing to screening to contacting to interview-scheduling, we can provide high volumes of quality candidates in as little as 48 hours. For more information, visit www.giraffe.co.za