AYES Bid to Advance Creative Industries in the Digital Economy

Summit will feature local and Africa’s leading creative entrepreneurs


This year’s edition of the Africa Youth Entrepreneurs Summit (AYES) will be spread over two days of a conference, an expo and a day market.
Scheduled for 28 and 29 February at the University of Botswana Conference Centre in Gaborone, it is expected to be one of the biggest in the past five years.
The summit aims to showcase the diversity and potential of Botswana’s creative sector. “Unlike in the past five years, this year’s summit is one of our biggest because it is a two-day event,” the mastermind behind the summit, Lemogang Senwelo, told Time Out.

Success stories
“The event will feature local and Africa’s leading creative entrepreneurs who will share success stories, provide advice, and network with the audience.
“The summit also aims to facilitate collaborations between creatives from different countries and help build their international networks. The official speakers for the event will be announced by the end of this month or early February.”
While the summit has explored other sectors of the economy over the past years, Senwelo emphasised that the decision to focus on the creative sector for the Botswana edition was influenced by the observation that many local creatives do not see themselves as businesses or potential businesses.

Senwelo believes that there are numerous opportunities within the arts that local creatives can tap into to catch up with their counterparts in other African countries.
“We have noticed that we are still lacking behind because we still have creatives who are failing the basics of a business, which include opening a bank account or hiring a manager,” she noted.
“The 4th Industrial revolution is the current buzzword and we want the summit to guide our creatives on how they can take advantage of this phenomenon. In a nutshell, we want Batswana creatives to catch up with the rest of the world.”

Fostering partnerships
Founded in 2017, the annual Africa Youth Entrepreneurship Summit aims to bring together African entrepreneurs under one roof to share ideas, find ways of fostering partnerships and to empower local entrepreneurs to grow beyond their countries’ borders to penetrate the international market.
“We want to see African youth working together, fostering partnerships whilst creating wealth in turn,” said Senwelo.
To that end, local and African entrepreneur who are trailblazers in their fields will impart knowledge on the participants and talk about the basics of grooming a business to penetrate the international market.
Tickets to the summit are priced at P1,000.