Boosting entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa

Entrepreneurs thrive when they are supported, and effective support can come in many forms.    

In November 2016, the British Council celebrated entrepreneurship as part of Global Entrepreneur Week, the world’s biggest celebration of entrepreneurship. Over the course of five days, a series of events were held in Senegal, Ghana, South Africa and Sudan under our Entrepreneurial Africa programme. The programme is a regional initiative that aims to empower African youth through training, mentorship, networking opportunities and access to funding through enterprise competitions. 

During Global Entrepreneur Week, the British Council engaged with young entrepreneurs from across Africa, reaching 678,000 people on Facebook and generating some 40,000 tweets and retweets on Twitter. In partnership with the British Library, we also helped to promote a variety of webinars across the region. These online sessions were aimed at both start-up businesses and young entrepreneurs and also highlighted some of our social enterprise opportunities that are designed to provide positive pathways to improve people’s skills and life chances.

Alongside our digital presence, we also organised several gatherings on the ground, directly engaging with over 1,000 young people. In Senegal, we hosted round table discussions, panel sessions and a road show to encourage discussions around entrepreneurship throughout the country. In South Africa, we supported a Social Entrepreneurship Festival of Ideas that gathered 50 young people together to participate in a workshop on ‘Ideas that matter’. In Ghana, we organised #SocialThursday, a platform for social enterprises to exhibit, pitch and receive coaching and investment support for their business. And finally, in Sudan, we reached out to young people through a series of university lectures attended by undergraduate students, as well as a three-day workshop attended by participants on the topic of ‘how to maintain the success of a business’.

From 22 to 24 March 2017, the British Council will host the Africa Enterprise Summit in Ghana. This three-day event will bring together academics, policy-makers, the private sector, investors, international and national development partners, civil society groups and entrepreneurs from Africa and the UK to discuss next generation mainstream entrepreneurship and social enterprise in Africa. It will also provide a space for attendees to share perspectives, effective practice and lessons, as well as map out ideas around building safer and stronger economies across Africa.


February 2017