DEVELOPMENT: Cape Town Ripe With Opportunity
Recent Western Cape Business News
The African continent and especially Cape Town is ripe with opportunity for entrepreneurs and business professionals, a group of up-and-coming young professionals were told at the seventh quarterly Accelerate Cape Town Inspiration Session last week.
Business think tank Accelerate Cape Town, in association with Allan Gray, hosts an “Inspiration Session” every quarter to provide a networking and mentorship forum for young professionals and future business leaders living and working in the Western Cape.
The sessions have grown so significantly in popularity over the past two years that there is now a long waiting list, necessitating invitations to Accelerate Cape Town’s database to be rotated from session to session.
Accelerate Cape Town CEO Guy Lundy said that it is crucial that Cape Town develops a pipeline of talent. “This is essential if we are to achieve our goal of becoming a globally competitive city,” he stated.
However, a 2009 poll by Accelerate Cape Town found that there was a perception among young professionals – and significantly among young black professionals – that it was harder to build professional connections and find professional mentors in Cape Town that in some other South African cities.
Subsequently, to address the issue of retention of talent in Cape Town in a positive and productive way, Accelerate Cape Town and Allan Gray created the Inspiration Sessions. Accelerate Cape Town’s many member companies agreed that it was a good idea to give selected employees the chance to attend the Inspiration Sessions. A number of these companies have, in fact, become co-sponsors of these Sessions, with Nedbank and Old Mutual being the co-sponsors for last night’s session.
Held in glamorous venues that young professionals would not easily access on their own, and bringing together a diverse group of professionals from a wide variety of professions, the sessions became an essential forum for professionals in Cape Town to find networking and business mentorship opportunities
The speakers are always people who have inspiring stories to tell about their own rise to success. Previous speakers include the writer Sindi Magona, the marketing and communications specialist Uyanda Mbuli, the businessman Sello Moloko, MTN head of Corporate Communications Nozipho January-Bardill, investment banker Enos Banda, Avusa editor Mondli Makhanya, and this time, brandhouse MD Gerald Mahinda.
Mahinda, the keynote speaker at today’s session, encouraged the young business professionals of Cape Town to seek out economic opportunities on the African continent.
“The developing world is where opportunities lie, and Africa is one of those places. China knows this. Other developing countries know this which is why we have been invited to join the BRIC countries,” Mahinda said.
Mahinda said most of sub-Saharan Africa was “a market just waiting for some of the world’s best businesses - South African businesses - to make their mark”.
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