Entrepreneurship programme convenes business and law professionals from across Africa at the Hertie School

Part of GIZ and Hertie School partnership to foster transnational dialogue on law and management issues.

In the last week of October, the Hertie School’s Executive Education team led a six-day Transnational Dialogue on Fostering Entrepreneurship across Africa, inviting law professionals and entrepreneurs from across Africa. A total of 35 participants from Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and South Africa joined for this engaging and interactive bilingual exchange on topics of cross-border relevance.

The tailor-made programme took place online and focused on how to successfully establish, manage and sustain businesses in times of COVID-19. It aimed to foster transnational dialogue on key challenges in the field of law and management, and was part of a broader GIZ German development agency project, “Promotion of rule of law and justice in Africa”.

Empowering business entrepreneurs across Africa so they can transform their experiences into actionable policy change was a key element of the Dialogue. Participants  collaborated in workshops to draft their own policy proposals, including ideas for a transnational institute for entrepreneurship, public procurement and access to financing in the context of COVID-19.

"It meant a lot to me to understand that we share the same concerns and challenges, and that we are all in this together,” said participant Amal Guidara, Global Chief Compliance Officer at Galactech in Tunis. “Growing connections and building a trans-African community of entrepreneurs working towards policy change is crucial. It is therefore of utmost importance to further enhance this network."

Sessions with Hertie School professors and practitioners

The programme included sessions on law, management and soft skills. Andrea Römmele, Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society taught a session on communication techniques. Oliver Klawitter, Project Coordinator in Executive Education at the Hertie School, who has a background in non-profit work, led a session on how to launch and manage a successful crowdfunding campaign. Law expert Ioana Knoll-Tudor was the course lead and taught a session on protecting funders and shareholder agreements. Opportunities and challenges in working with government was another topic, with a session led by Hertie School Senior Fellow Rolf Alter on the impact of COVID-19 on public tenders.

Practitioners, including Astou Dia, founder of A to A Partners, co-founder of the Impact Hub in Abidjan and Lead Business Coach, and Mehemed Bougsea, co-founder and CEO of Think-it brought valuable regional expertise and shared insights on how they overcame obstacles in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Aside from know-how on law and management for business start-ups in the pandemic, the programme aimed to develop concrete recommendations that could be presented and implemented in government agencies of the partner countries. And it will hopefully be a starting point for future Dialogues and network-building.

“We hope to create a long-lasting network by bringing together participants from different backgrounds and countries across Africa,” says Oliver Klawitter. “As we build out this programme in the future, we hope its impact will take the form of sustainable business relations and opportunities among the participants over the longer term.”