Ramaphosa hails Global Entrepreneurship Week
Time is running out for South Africa to change the fortunes of millions of its citizens still burdened by poverty, unemployment and inequality, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday November 11.
The deputy president was addressing an event to launch the Global Entrepreneurship Week to be hosted by the City of Johannesburg from Monday November 14 to Sunday November 20.
The seven-day-long Global Entrepreneurship Week is in preparation for the staging of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in March 2017.
The congress will see more than 4 000 entrepreneurs, start-up champions, thought leaders, visitors, researchers and policymakers from 150 countries pouring into Johannesburg to share ideas on how entrepreneurship could be developed to boost employment and grow the economy.
Johannesburg was named the preferred host of the 2017 GEC in Milan, Italy, in 2015. It will be the first time the congress takes place in Africa. It has previously been held in the United States, United Arab Emirates, China, United Kingdom, Brazil and Italy.
Deputy President Ramaphosa, who was the main speaker at Friday’s event, said it was through partnerships between government, business and entrepreneurs that a nation could be in a position to tackle poverty and unemployment.
Deputy President Ramaphosa, a highly successful businessman in his own right, said the spirit of entrepreneurship should be at the centre of “who we are as a nation”. He said it should be part of the schooling system
“We should reconfigure the curriculum of our education system so we can imbue young people with entrepreneurial knowledge from a very young age,” he said.
He said he looked forward to next week’s activities as they would lay the ground for the GEC next year.
Earlier, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the current structure of the economy excluded the majority of South Africans.
“We should always be alive to these challenges when we seek solutions through entrepreneurship. Through partnerships, we can break some of these barriers and begin to give space to entrepreneurs in our townships and elsewhere in the country,” she said.
Global Entrepreneurship Network President Jonathan Ortmans said Johannesburg must use the GEC next year to showcase its talent and the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.
“All eyes will be on you. Leaders of business and successful entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley will look forward to sharing ideas with you,” said Ortmans.
Statistician-General Pali Lehohla revealed shocking statistics about economic imbalances among South Africa’s various groups.
He said there would be no economic dividends as long as the government focused on elements that were of “less significance to the masses”.
“Employment and education are the leading factors that occupy the minds of our people and we should respond appropriately,” Lehohla said.