In a world where the digital age is the new normal, many nations worldwide are struggling to catch up to competing countries leading in all aspects of technology. To fill the void, the Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE), founded by Ghanaian-British entrepreneur Einstein Ntim, has stepped in to deliver a viable solution to underrepresented countries.
By hosting annual summits in developing nations across the globe, GSE plans to accelerate startup ecosystems in emerging markets, while also revitalizing economic activity in all facets. By possessing a digital lab that helps companies host initiatives for targeted countries and regions of interest, the group is the world's first and largest global digital accelerator program that accelerates over 1,000 companies to market, from at least 90 countries per year.
As networks in various markets draw investment because of international gatherings held on their sites, the organization strives to attract similar interest to developing countries by placing an international spotlight on the host countries. In 2017, the Haiti Tech Summit began the organization’s 13-year initiative of addressing mankind’s most pressing challenges, stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit of budding economies and positioning developing countries to be seen as catalysts in innovation. As the first country to host a summit for the group, GSE brought 100 speakers and 500 attendees to Haiti – resulting in a staggering amount of 48 million impressions on social media.
In July 2018, Ghana will join the initiative as the second country tasked with welcoming high-profile companies, celebrities and government officials to its home. As one of the world’s first black nations on the continent of Africa, Ghana has a deep history of birthing leaders in business, politics, and culture. With the emergence of tech hubs across the country, as well as pockets of Ghanaian influence internationally, the West African regional powerhouse is well positioned to become the next trailblazer of innovation and modernism.
GSE remains intentional about its responsibility to positively impact countries that are a step away from rising to the next level. When reflecting on the impact he wishes for the summit to have on Ghana, Ntim stated, “Our main goal with each of these summits is not only to catalyze the local startup ecosystem, but to also reframe the narrative of the country to the international community. There are so many assumptions made of startups, investors and influencers from emerging markets. If we do not rally both the local and international communities at once to see the innovative potential of these markets, then we will continue to perpetuate stereotypes that negatively affect these economies.”
He continued, “Thus, the impact we wish is to first accelerate the pace of startup incubators, accelerators and programs; secondly, to attract companies and investors to launch with our platform and operate locally within the host country; and finally, to inspire a new narrative about the country and its entrepreneurs/innovators with the features presented by both local and international press networks.”
After the success of the Haiti Tech Summit, Einstein and his team, also led by managing partner and chief operating officer Christine Souffrant Ntim, have taken lessons from the event and are working diligently to apply them to the launch of the Ghana Tech Summit. By placing a focus on educating at both a local and international level, the team will provide a diverse line-up of speakers centered upon two themes: "Drivers of Startup Ecosystems" on day 1 and "Disruptors of Startup Economies" on day 2. “Drivers” will serve as a deep-dive look into the contributions of venture capital fund managers, angel investors, accelerators and incubators on tech hubs worldwide, while “Disruptors” will analyze exponential technologies that are transforming industries of the future, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, drone, space and robotics.
Furthermore, Ntim hopes to exceed expectations others place on the event by mirroring the same formula that worked for the Haiti Tech Summit. Initially, he remembered how individuals doubted Haiti’s ability to hold such an event, deeming the project as a charity stunt. By turning this adversity into ambition, Ntim and his team set the bar high on the number of companies and media networks to invite. Now, acclaimed organizations including Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Twitter, IBM and Microsoft are expected to be in attendance, alongside 40+ media representatives from Forbes, Black Enterprise, INC. Magazine, NY Times and others.
By recognizing that much more should be done to promote and advocate for the cultivation of startups in emerging markets abroad, GSE believes that companies and individuals should continue to engage with developing economies after summits and collaborative events come to an end.
“Entrepreneurs in emerging markets have the same capabilities as I do, but not the same direct access; as a result, assumptions are made about their ability to innovate, disrupt and inspire global markets,” Ntim said.
As companies and change makers join together to lay a lens on the creation of startups in developing countries, the Global Startup Ecosystem stands as a pioneer intently focused on achieving its goal of creating a more diverse and innovative society.
To learn more about the Ghana Tech Summit, visit the official website.