In 2013, Sankalp Forum expanded in to Africa with the ambition of accelerating enterprise growth and building a South-South corridor to promote greater learning and partnerships between developing countries. Sankalp in Africa launched with an emerging SME Awards program and an industry convening.
Conferred upon innovative, dynamic and sustainable social enterprises in Africa, the prestigious Sankalp Awards recognized the impact that entrepreneurs are creating through viable businesses. 100 applications from across 12 countries and 6 high impact sectors were shortlisted to 12 finalists.
All finalists were showcased at the Sankalp Africa summit which saw 450 people come together from Summit from 25+ countries including 12 African nations. Conversations at the 2-day conference were driven by 4 key focus areas - entrepreneurship, innovation, financing and collaboration - all geared towards taking an ecosystem view of inclusive development in Africa.
It featured an effective mix of big picture discussions like "Looking to Africa for Leadership in Inclusive Development"; as well as more specific deep dives on sectors like agriculture, healthcare, clean energy. Effective SME financing was also discussed with a focus on angel investing and taking a "more than money" approach in VC investing.
A special "capacity building" track for SMEs featured a mentoring clinic, workshops on business modeling and fundraising, and match-making with corporates and investors.
Sankalp Forum and partner organizations convened several satellite events before and after the Sankalp Africa Summit that made Nairobi a go-to destination last week for inclusive development practitioners from around the world. Partner satellite events included a workshop on social enterprises by Overseas Development Institute, a conference on the SGB ecosystem by ANDE, and a convening on impact investing by Strathmore Business School in Nairobi.
All this contributed to making Nairobi a go-to destination for inclusive development practitioners during the week of February 11, 2014.