Anzisha’s 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Week Event: “Collaborate, Not Compete”

On Friday November 22, The Anzisha Prize at African Leadership Academy hosted a dialogue discussion, in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), in collaboration with Endeavor – a non-profit organisation that identifies and assists high-growth entrepreneurs in emerging markets around the world.

The theme for the discussion was ‘Collaborate, Not Compete’. Primary discussion topics were: ‘How to Sustainably Scale from 5 to 50’ ‘The Key to Mentorship & Menteeship’, and ‘The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received’. The event brought together a hand selected group of experienced entrepreneurs and connected them with the Anzisha Fellows, with the purpose of knowledge sharing and the exchange of ideas & lessons learned.

Guests represented the following organizations: Endeavor, Edcon, GrowthPoint, The Innovation Hub, Technoserve, Young Business South Africa (YBSA), and Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA).

Our Southern African fellows had a powerful regional gathering and event to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week
Our Southern African fellows had a powerful regional gathering and event to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week

The primary goal was to make the dialogue discussion meaningful for the Fellows by giving them an opportunity to meet experienced entrepreneurs and professionals in their industries, but also receive advice from these individuals on actual challenges the Fellows are facing in their businesses. As such, we used specific questions and challenges that the Fellows submitted, as the basis for the event schedule, attached.

The format for the event was a lively group discussion followed by a smaller group breakouts sessions. The topics for the group breakout sessions were created based on the real-life questions the Fellows had about their businesses. The event guest list was also very intentional. We worked hard to identify a group of experienced professionals from key industries that are effective leaders with great advice to give. We then paired the Fellows up by industry during the smaller breakout sessions so that, for example, Gonjetso would be able to ask a professional at Growth Point Property, questions that are specific to the real estate industry.

Following the breakout sessions, the Fellows each presented their key learnings and insights to the larger group. All guests were given a stack of post-it notes, which they used to “ideastorm”, record, and share any key questions, answers, or insightful “lightbulb moments”. Ideastorm key takeaways are attached.

The event was covered by Jaco Maritz, Editor-in-Chief of award-winning blog, “How We Made It In Africa.” You can read the article here: “Eight thoughts on growing your business from 5 to 50.”

All in all, it was a great event. In the post-event feedback we received from the Fellows, they noted that mentoring and access to the right people is exactly what they needed. There was a value in being able to discuss existing challenges, with new, experienced entrepreneurs, with a well-seasoned perspective on the matter. We hope to use elements of this model in future regional Anzisha Indaba events.