The summit, held at SBS on 5th and 6th February, 2015, brought together around 80 speakers and 600 delegates from across the world to discuss, debate and create a roadmap for Accelerating Innovation & Entrepreneurship towards an Inclusive Africa.
Key speakers included, among others, Bob Collymore (CEO, Safaricom), Dr. George Njenga (Dean, SBS), Nanno Kleiterp (CEO, Netherlands Development Finance Company, FMO), Darshan Chandaria (CEO, Chandaria Industries), Lisa Phillips (Head, Kenya DFID) and Mamadou Biteye (Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation, Africa Regional Office).
Intellecap also unveiled a list of ten highly innovative and scalable SMEs, chosen from over 300 applicants, from which Arbutus Medical (maker of affordable medical devices), Ensibuuko (provider of financial products for farmers), Powergen Renewable (which provides solar off-grid electricity in remote regions), Jibu (which creates affordable access to drinking water) and Honey Products Industries (which optimizes the value chain for honey) were selected finalists for the second edition of the Sankalp Awards for Africa.
Hon Johnson Sakaja, MP, representing the government, asked investors to invest in the youth of Kenya, stating that Africa has a vast pool of entrepreneurial talent.
Dr Njenga said, We share the common desire of entrepreneurs and the youth. He praised the forum for its focus on young entrepreneurs, and its immense dedication to social initiatives. Noting the overwhelming potential of Africa and its increasing economic growth rate, he emphasized that this is the right time to invest in Africa.
He gave the example of the Climate Innovation Centre (CIC), based at SBS, which has incubated over 105 companies, helping them with short-term mentorship, financial planning and skills. It is important that we train and mentor people to create solutions towards an inclusive Africa, he said.
Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, noted the amount of good Safaricoms partnership with SBS have done to the country. I am proud to be associated with Strathmore, the good work done by Strathmore has helped drive Kenyas IGDP to the top in Africa, and above those of countries like Brazil and China, he said. IGDP is the portion of a countrys GDP contributed by the internet.
Mr. Collymore reiterated Dr. Njengas earlier assertion that virtue and respect for human dignity are essential if Kenya is to capitalize on the gains of being the Silicon Savannah, and noted the essential contribution of Strathmore in imparting such values to people.
The success of Safaricom, he said, is based on the need to share which is inherent in the Kenyan psychic. Kenya, and Africa in extension, therefore provides the right ingredients for startups to grow: opportunity, people, and the possibility of partnerships.
Chandaria Industries new CEO, Darshan Chandaria, noted that CEOs, directors, entrepreneurs and innovators should never forget the social impact of their business ideas. That way, they would be able to transform lives across East Africa.
He gave the example of the Chandaria Group, which instead of automating in some sectors, employs widows and single mothers to ensure that they create jobs and eradicate poverty. You need to have a vision and a goal to get where you want to go in life. Success is not a destination, it is a continuous journey. The question is, what is the journey for you? he concluded.
To view pictures of the forum click here.