The spirit of entrepreneurship is thriving in Sudan, the third largest country in Africa – which was evident during the Global Entrepreneurship Week last November, the largest entrepreneurial event in Sudan, organized by Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community (IEC), a member of the GEW host organization in the country. IEC was formed in 2013 by a group of young and passionate entrepreneurs with the mission to promote entrepreneurship as an alternative and respectable career option to the Sudanese society.
For GEW Sudan 2016, IEC signed up 36 partners, and organized 41 events with the help of more than 140 volunteers. More than 4,000 people attended GEW Sudan 2016– and more than half were women – including government and business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and ambassadors. GEW kicked off with an official opening ceremony at the AGC Club in Khartoum.
Zain Sudan was the main sponsor of the event, which was covered by more than 10 national television and radio shows. GEW Sudan 2016 also made an impact through social media, with a campaign designed to appeal to the wider public; by focusing on a simple message “Unleash Your Potential” accompanied by photos and videos from the wide array of featured events.
GEW Sudan also featured a number of global picks, such as Future Agro Challenge and Get In The Ring (GITR), which appealed to a wider audience – most of them investors.
“Intelligence Conversations,” an event designed to initiate a conversation to connect the dots, bridge the gaps and improve the cooperation between the different stakeholders to build a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs, also took place for the second year.
Other popular events were Startup Weekend Khartoum, Startup Juniors Weekend Khartoum and Startup Grind.
Another important event, “Medical Innovation Symposium” gathered the healthcare sector under one roof. A significant challenge was highlighted during the event: 40 percent of people in Sudan lack access to primary healthcare. There are, however, opportunities to reach this segment of people through mobile phones and technology, and by educating them on how to access healthcare.
The aim of GEW Sudan was to provide support for startups in different stages, and create awareness about entrepreneurship with the public, and to connect the Sudanese ecosystem with the global community of entrepreneurs. Even though the Sudanese entrepreneurial ecosystem is in its early stages, it is certainly developing exponentially and discussions to form GEN Sudan are already underway.