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Business: Creating Economic Sustainability Through Entrepreneurship


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With the effects of a global economic crisis and an escalating dilemma of skills shortage, the move towards promoting entrepreneurship is crucial. As has recently been demonstrated by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, South Africa is at roughly 1/3 the rate of entrepreneurship of China and Indonesia, whereas SMME’s (small, medium and micro enterprise) created 80% of jobs in SA’s private sector from 2002-2007.

In its attempt to alleviate these discrepancies, Wits Business School Centre for Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will host the MIT-Global Startup Workshop for the first time in Africa during March 2009.

The 12th MIT (GSW) Conference which aims to embrace these issues and other fundamental questions within the entrepreneurial sphere will be held in Cape Town from March 25-27, 2009.
Attested as the world's leading conference on fostering entrepreneurship through supportive and catalytic infrastructure such as that epitomized by MIT's entrepreneurial ecosystem, the conference will allow African entrepreneurs to tap into a global network and illustrate that the global village is not so far removed in terms of opportunities and support.

Said SA Team programme Co-leader, Fredell Jacobs, “The theme – The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem; Creating Economic Sustainability through Entrepreneurship hopes to address key issues linked to entrepreneurship development that will highlight the fundamental building blocks that are required to build sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystems in South Africa and the continent”.
An array of acclaimed keynote speakers from all arenas of the business world will take centre stage to deliver some thought-provoking addresses on building sustainable environments for entrepreneurship.

Kenneth P. Morse, serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center will take audiences on a journey of discovery as he unwraps the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ken holds the Chair in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Competitiveness in the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the Delft Technical University and further played a key role in launching several high-tech start-ups, including 3Com Corporation, Aspen Technology, an expert systems company, and a biotech firm.

US based President and CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce in America (SACCA), Euvin Naidoo will also attend to some entrepreneurial questions. With his infinite experience in global entrepreneurship, Mr Euvin believes in the power of supporting entrepreneurship and investment as a means to drive sustained economic development on the African continent.

Other key speakers and guests include Deputy Director General of Trade and Investment SA (TISA) at the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Iqbal Sharma and the co-founder of the popular micro-lending website KIVA, Jessica Jackley Flannery.

Key exhibitors at the conference include Regus, Vodacom Business and Succeed Magazine. In 2008, the MIT GSW attracted over 300 participants from over 30 countries.

Since its inaugural conference at MIT in 1998, the MIT GSW has been hosted in Singapore, Spain, Australia, Italy, China, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, and Norway. The upcoming Cape Town conference is expected to live up to the astonishing legacy of true entrepreneurship spirit.

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