The Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi in July was the biggest entrepreneurial showcase on the continent. The question that lingers on everyone’s mind is ‘what next?’ Mount Kenya University in conjunction with Leipzig University, Germany, will host the annual International Conference for the Advancement of Business and Management Practice in Africa (ICABUMPA). The conference will be held at KICC, Nairobi, between October 27 and 29. Dr Vincent Gaitho, chairman of the organizing committee tells us how the conference will accelerate entrepreneurial growth in Africa
Vincent Gaitho, chairman of the organizing committee of the International Conference for the Advancement of Business and Management Practice in Africa (ICABUMPA) was interviewed by The Star Newspaper Team and he had these to share.
Why host a business conference so soon after GES? Someone might say you are Johnny-come-latelies.
Not at all. This conference presents a unique opportunity where all the elements of business ecosystem congregate under one roof. In fact, the pace at which modern business concepts are evolving calls for an increase in the frequency of such interactive forums.
Is this the first gathering?
No. As a university we have been hosting the annual International Conference for the Advancement of Business and Management Practice in Africa for four years now. This year, with the inclusion of Intelligence for Innovation (iN4iN) concept of Leipzig University, it is even better. This conference might not match the GES in stature or international media focus, but it’s a key focal point that addresses business innovation and acceleration, two drivers of profitability.
For how long has Mount Kenya University been working together with Leipzig University of Germany?
We have had a partnership with Leipzig for two years now. This has really been going on very well as we learn from both ends of the world on how to improve the lives of people.
Who are the key participants of the conference?
Small and Medium Enterprises, academicians, regulators, policy makers, financial institutions, entrepreneurs and investors. It will be a good networking forum. To date, over 100 SMEs have confirmed participation while there will be more than 80 presentations in the different conference sub-themes. Corporate organizations including media houses, industries, regulatory bodies, and insurance companies will have exhibition stands at the venue.
How will be the conference be conducted?
The conference intends to proffer practical road map to growth of business in Kenya through a multi-sectoral approach. Therefore, there will be a plenary session during which reputable national and international experts from different sectors will give keynote speeches.
What are the expected outcomes of ICABUMPA-iN4iN 2015?
The theme of the conference is ‘New concepts for business acceleration for Africa’.Due to the abstract nature of business management, we hope that the presenters, participants and panel of experts will come up with a road map that will guide more entrepreneurs in Africa. These concepts will be captured in a book of proceedings to be published hopefully within one month after the event.
At the same time, under the Small Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards 2015, entrepreneurs will have an opportrunity to exhibit their innovative products and services. They will also participate in a specialized training session on innovation management. The best SMEs will be awarded during the gala dinner event at the end of the conference.
This conference will offer an opportunity to merge the theories taught at the universities with the real world of work and business. The Industry will have an opportunity to share with academia expected training for enhanced business acceleration by learning current global systems that are working elsewhere.
The African business landscape is not very receptive to new ideas/concepts, especially if they are driven by the young generation. Yet, the youth are the most affected by unemployment, and stand to gain the most from entrepreneurial success. How is this conference hoping to address this?
We have brought together consummate academicians, successful entrepreneurs and business leaders to address the key drawbacks that hinder business growth in Africa. Some of these entrepreneurs are young people who will give testimonies on how they jumped the hurdles along the way. No lessons are better than those heard in first person. In addition, we have also involved key policy makers in government and the corporate world. Business success goes hand in hand with innovation. As it is said, change, when running a business, is the only constant.
Do you think the GES was a success?
Certainly. Besides the widely-reported business deals clinched with some big money companies from the West, it was also an awesome networking opportunity, and of course, did wonders for our tourism and country’s image. Entrepreneurial stakes are now very high and I envision ICABUMPA-iN4iN 2015 as a platform bringing together all entrepreneurs from around the continent.
Article by HENRY WANYAMA