Sophia Bekele, Founder/ CEO DotConnectAfrica, Yes2dotAfrica was invited to speak on Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) forum, hosted by the White House and USAID on “African Entrepreneurs & Silicon Valley Forum: Bridging Gaps and Making Connections”
The forum held at the Silicon Valley Bank’s WeWork Golden Gate location, San Francisco, California, and hosted over 100 delegates comprised of VCs, impact investors, African diaspora entrepreneurs, tech leaders, policymakers and U.S. government members from Washington DC and San Francisco, focused on spurring and supporting innovation ecosystems and investment in Africa.
Various high-level panel spoke from topics ranging from why Invest in Africa? Enabling Environment, the Power of Networks, support of African Diaspora & Mentorship bridging the gap between silicon valley and sub-Saharan Africa through technology.
Representative African Entrepreneurs invited to speak from their experiences included our own Sophia Bekele, Founder/ CEO DotConnectAfrica, Yes2dotAfrica, Chris Folayan, founder /CEO of MallforAfrica, Mahad Ibrahim, Managing Partner of Gobee Group, Amadou Daffe, CEO ,Coders4Africa, Eghosa Omogui of EchoVC Partners and moderator Stephen Ozoigbo, Founder and CEO, African Technology Foundation.
Also other high level group that spoke included Bill Draper: Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Claire Lee: Silicon Valley Bank, Mark Straub: Khosla Impact, Cassandra Staff: Global Social Benefit Institute, Raymond Guthrie: Skoll Foundation and high level representatives of US State Department and USAID.
Speaking at the Forum on the African future, Ms. Bekele said that “more people look out for the “American Dream , but I believe now we should be looking forward to building the #BuildAfricaDream and put that in the DNA of all the students who get an opportunity to study here.”
Talking on the power of social media, Sophia recalled her very on multilingual ‘Yes2dotafrica Campaign, adding that “even when we faced challenges along our journey, certainly our voices continued to be heard, so I would say I will not underestimate the power of the social media”. On the diaspora effect, Sophia stated “Certainly we have campaigned for the Diaspora inclusion. We should all note that Africa is 55 countries now with the split of South Sudan and not 54, as the 55th state is the inclusion of the Diaspora. This according to the African Union, whose offices in Washington is suppose to be set up few years ago to support the African Diaspora efforts and we all should assert our positions through that.”
The Government of Kenya will co-host the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) this July which will be attended by US President Barrack Obama. Organized annually since 2009, the GES has emerged as a global platform connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations, and governments looking to support them. This will be the first time the GES will take place in sub-Saharan Africa.
Following the event, Bekele also attended the Book launch of “The Next Africa: An Emerging Continent Becomes a Global Powerhouse“ at the World Affairs Council, San Francisco.
A panel discussion was featured with expert researchers and entrepreneurs Jake Bright and Aubrey Hruby, co-authors of the book and Entrepreneur Chris Folayan, MallforAfrica, who discussed his work developing new platforms to bring e-commerce to Nigeria and other nations.
Adapted from PrLog