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City gears up for Global Entrepreneurship Week

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu will on Friday November 11 officially launches the Global Entrepreneurship Week – to be hosted by the City of Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre from Monday November 14 to Sunday November 20.

The week, a precursor to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to be held in the city in March 2017, is also expected to be attended by Gauteng Provincial Government leaders, the City of Johannesburg's leadership – including Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Cllr Sharon Peetz – and Global Entrepreneurship Network President Jonathan Ortmans.

Johannesburg was named the preferred host city of the 2017 edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Milan, Italy, early in 2015. The GEC is an inter-disciplinary gathering of start-up champions from over 150 countries that attracts more than 4 000 delegates. It is a gathering of thought leaders from around the world, where entrepreneurs, visitors, researchers, policymakers and other start-up champions get a platform to work together.

The congress also focuses on how best to help entrepreneurs start and scale new companies. It is the first time the GEC takes place in Africa. It has previously been held in the United States, United Arab Emirates, China, United Kingdom, Brazil, Russia and Italy.

Speaking about the Global Entrepreneurship Week at the Johannesburg Green City Start-Up Awards on Wednesday night, MMC Peetz said entrepreneurs in Johannesburg and the rest of the country would have the opportunity to showcase their skills, talents and innovations. She said it was important that the city continued to find innovative ways to create sustainable jobs through entrepreneurship.

MMC Peetz told the finalists that it was through innovation that Johannesburg as South Africa’s economic hub would continue to play a critical role in the global discourse.

“This is a journey that we should walk together as a team. We should continue to support those ideas that seek to make our lives better. The City will continue to support innovative entrepreneurs," she said.

A number of activities have been planned for the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Speaking during an interview at a cocktail party on Thursday night, Ortmans called on South Africans to look into their own skills and talents to eke out a living and contribute to economic growth. He said ordinary citizens should be given the platform to determine their future through entrepreneurship.

"We should encourage more people to try their hand in self-employment. Being entrepreneurial creates an environment of possibilities,” said Ortmans.

One of Johannesburg's entrepreneurs expected to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Week is Paseka Lesolang, last year’s winner of the Johannesburg Green City Start-Up competition. Lesolang won R1-million in the competition for his WHC Leak Less Valve, which prevents toilet water leaks.​