10 Highlights from the 2018 Year in Entrepreneurship

The Editor, Sihle Magubane, shares some of his highlights in the world of entrepreneurship in 2018.



1. African Leadership Academy shares its inaugural Learning Brief on Entrepreneurship Education


African Leadership Academy shared some emerging thinking on very young entrepreneurs which has been gathered over 10 years. My personal highlight was some of the solid mapping  of some of the non-cognitive skills associated with entrepreneurial mindsets, shown in the image above. I hope that through sharing more learning, we have better collective success as providers of entrepreneurial training across the continent.


2. Celebrating 10 years of African Leadership Academy


The Decennial Year was filled with lots of celebration and reunions of ALA alumni, Staff, key investors, Anzisha Fellows and many more, it was a true celebration of the richness and diversity that is ALA.  Josh Adler, the Vice-President of Growth & Entrepreneurship shared with attendees ALA’s “big plan” for  very young entrepreneurs. Take a look at what he had to say here.



3. Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Ecosystem Maps

For anyone in the entrepreneurship Ecosystem , it can be a bit of a chore to try and find out who your peers are in the ecosystem that you can engage, or just simply understanding where along the spectrum of support and services you offer. ANDE has released a range of entrepreneurship ecosystem maps over the years, but my personal highlights this year were the release of  more African Maps including Accra, Abuja and the  release of findings from the first phase of the Uganda Ecosystem Report.


4. Uganda Youth Refugee Entrepreneur Competition

From Left: Benedict & Juru-Scovia, some of the entrepreneurs I met at the Camp. 

Speaking of Uganda, I spent some time with Joseph Munyambanza, ALA alum and Entrepreneur in Kampala after attending a conference in Rwanda.  Joseph, the founder of CORBUWAS, hosted the first- of-its-kind pitching competition for refugee entrepreneurs. I was struck with the level of ingenious innovations presented at this competition and also had the opportunity to spend some time coaching some young entrepreneurs on pitching their businesses. I also got to meet Anzisha Finalist 2018- Vanessa Ishimwe– at this competition, not knowing that just a few months later, we’d be meeting again in Johannesburg for the Anzisha Prize awards Gala!


5. Africa Innovation Summit


Before heading off to Uganda, I was in Kigali, Rwanda at the Africa Innovation Summit, where I was part of a panel speaking on Enterprises and Innovation. The most fulfilling part of the whole summit experience for me, was that there were so many young participants in the summit- which is as it should be. The host city, Kigali, ensured that there were as many as possible  under 25 young participants in the discussions- which both lifted the energy of the experience, and more importantly  their voices represented. I bumped into some alumni from my Alma Mater and re-bonded by reminiscing on “the good (but not so) old days”.


6. Africa Youth Networks Summit


The Graca Machel Trust has been engaged in a more than a year long project to create a network of youth support organizations from across the continent. Earlier in the year, I had authored a piece on some lessons that we can all take from a workshop that was hosted by the Graca Machel Trust at African Leadership Academy. The  process was celebrated with a Youth Networks Summit, where all stakeholders were engaged in a range of discussions to inform the way forward, where I facilitated a panel discussion on entrepreneurial culture.  My favorite part of the process and summit was that it was not a talk shop- the engagement has resulted in a network – the African Youth Networks Movement, which engages a range of youth, youth development organisations and others with a shared goal towards a prosperous Africa.

7. Anzisha Prize Awards Gala 2018 ( and parents!!) 


Pictured from left: Salma Nuhu,Fredrick Odongo, Josh Adler:Vice-President-Entrepreneurship, Vincent Ologbo, Angela Nafulla and Chidilim Omanudhouwo- parents of young entrepreneurs at the Anzisha Gala 2018. 

The moment we were all waiting for! it is always exciting to meet, engage with and celebrate the very best of young African entrepreneurial talent.  For me, this year, this moment was made even more special as I got to meet some parents of very young entrepreneurs in person as well! These parents were our first group of parents to attend the Gala and be celebrated for their contribution- they all formed part of creating “Parenting the Boss” which draws on their experiences of being parents to very young entrepreneurs, and they share lessons and advice with other parents. If you have not done so already, sign up to receive your copy of the book here!


8. 67 CEOs Foundation : Global Entrepreneurship Week 


As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, I went out and about Johannesburg to engage with some of our peers on critical issues around young entrepreneurship. We discussed some ideas on what an entrepreneurial mindsets on a panel with the CEO of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation: Yogavelli Nambiar, and Sbusiso Leope aka “DJ Sbu” South African Serial Entrepreneur, amongst  others. You can watch the full panel here.


9. Allan Gray Orbis Ecosystem Forum


As the summer heat set in, the ecosystem was as active as ever. The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation hosted its second Ecosystem Forum, where they shared what they have learnt about selecting high potential entrepreneurs through their programs.  You can find some of the insights here.  I was also quite happy to reunite with some of my old mentors, coaches and leaders of the program I consider my “Entrepreneurial Alma Mater”.


10. Charting the future of the Anzisha Prize


As we close off the year, we have been doing quite a bit of work on charting the future of the prize. Watch this space. The future is exciting, full of promise and laser sharp focus. I wish you all better collective success in moving the needle on very young entrepreneurship in the coming year and beyond!