UPDATE, December 9, 2011: Read the wrap-up of the Africa Awards from The Zimbabwean!
Legatum, a private international investment group, and Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, announces the launch of Convergence Africa, a high-profile one-day conference, headlined by globally-renowned champions of entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, and Tony O. Elumelu, former group CEO of United Bank for Africa, chairman of Heirs Holdings Group, and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Convergence Africa will take place on December 8th at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, followed by the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Gala Banquet. Tickets and attendance information for both events are available at the Convergence Africa website.
“Entrepreneurs represent Africa’s
future,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. “I’m constantly inspired by the ambition, determination and passion of entrepreneurs. Convergence Africa is a wonderful platform to bring together entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate growth across the continent.” He continued, ”I’m delighted to be able to participate in this inaugural year and look forward to meeting many of Africa’s brightest business leaders.”
Convergence Africa is the event that brings together the entrepreneurs, investors, policy-makers and businesspeople who will drive Africa’s growth. In addition to Sir Richard Branson and Tony Elumelu, speakers include Fred Swaniker, Founder of the African Leadership Academy; and prominent investors, international journalists and seasoned entrepreneurs.
The heart of the Convergence Africa conference is a unique series of Master Classes, conducted by experts in their fields and moderated by well-known international journalists, covering topics most relevant to entrepreneurs, investors and policy-makers. Master Class speakers include, among others:
- Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa, Founder, Hoja Law Group
- Magatte Wade/Founder, Adina and Tiossano
- James Mwangi, CEO, Equity Bank
- Nik Nesbitt, Founder, KenCall
- Bame Pule, Pan-African Private Equity Investor, Actis
Convergence Africa will culminate in an exclusive session of Investor Speed Dating, designed to match investors with a selection of the brightest entrepreneurs and their businesses in a series of rapid-fire pitches for funding. Fifteen venture capital and private equity firms from across Africa and overseas, including principals from Actis, Development Partners International, GroFin, Heirs Holdings, Springhill Equity, and many others, will each hear pitches from amongst more than 30 pre-qualified potential investee companies.
“Convergence Africa is where capital meets opportunity, bringing investors, and entrepreneurs face-to-face and creating a platform for making connections and sharing best practice,” said Alan McCormick, a managing director of Legatum. “Given the importance entrepreneurship in fuelling Africa’s continued growth, we believe Convergence Africa is the perfect complement to the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.”
The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship, the continent’s most prestigious business award, immediately follows Convergence Africa. Now in its fourth year, the Africa Awards programme recognises and rewards business leaders who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and qualities required to succeed in business and who are the inspirational role models for the next generation of African entrepreneurs. This year the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship expanded to include every country across the continent and more than 3,300 businesses submitted entries from 48 countries.
A grand prize of US$100,000 and five other awards of US$50,000 will go to the winning applicants, based on evaluation of company 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 Gala Awards ceremony will conclude by honouring the ten finalists and winners in the presence of an international audience of leading business people, investors, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.
The official sponsors of Convergence Africa and the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship are Legatum, Omidyar Network, the Coca-Cola Company, and Kenya Airways. Additional sponsorship opportunities as well as tickets to both events can be found online at www.convergenceafrica.com and www.africaawards.com.