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“This is the opportunity that technology presents. We don’t need the world to tell us how to solve our problems. We have the potential to find our own solutions; solutions for Africa by Africans.”
These words by Innovator Trust chief executive Tashline Jooste set the tone for the launch event of the Tech Entrepreneurship Xperience (TEX) 2022, which took place in Cape Town last week.
TEX was birthed on the understanding that as a sector, SMMEs and entrepreneurs are no longer waiting, but rather find themselves already in the throes of the 4th Industrial Revolution and technological disruption.
Addressing attendees of this hybrid event, CEO’s, SMMEs, and captains of industry alike, Jooste reminded small business entrepreneurs that despite the challenges faced to not become so fixated on the obstacles of today that we neglect the opportunities of tomorrow. Jooste furthered that the TEX event was purposed to serve as a catalyst that tells a new story’ a story to be written and narrated by Africans for the future generation of entrepreneurs on the continent.
TEX connected entrepreneurs with some of the most avant-garde minds in South Africa with Jooste highlighting that when the right minds collide, at the right time and place, there is an energy exchange that happens.
Something comes alive on the inside as a thought, an idea and a fresh fire. This is the opportunity that technology ignites. With these inspiring words setting the stage for the future, best-selling brand author and behavioural psychology researcher Timothy Maurice-Webster, took to the stage to unpack a keynote address on “The age of the techpreneur.”
Maurice-Webster teaches that language and the ability to tell stories are the most powerful technology. Crafting his own story on stage. The address further delved into the power of names and how they shape the stories we tell about who we are.
Connecting his talk to the need for familiarity and our human desire to gravitate toward the familiar, he noted that this is the key that entrepreneurs should be utilising when designing for the future consumer in mind. Ask yourself, “What are people yearning to express? Start designing and creating for that.”
An awe-inspiring address was swiftly followed by an engaging panel discussion focusing on the shift towards sustainable business. Amongst the panel was award-winning South African designer David Tlale who when posed the question about dealing with a fast-moving world where everything changes quickly, simply stated: “Once you define who you are as an entrepreneur, you won’t get caught up in what’s happening around you.”
Female Futurist of the Decade, Merle O’Brien, asked attendees to look to the future and imagine the entrepreneur 10 years from now. A gifted storyteller, with a PhD in creative intelligence, Merle O’Brien delivered a spell-binding keynote address, touching on the untapped wealth of Africa as a continent.
O’Brien highlighted the core values and challenges of the African persona, bringing her creativity to the fore to ask the type of questions that lead to solutions. O’Brien pointed the room to the apparent truth; while the world is in search of building circular economies, the very history and culture of African people are rooted in Ubuntu, proposing that this be the model that circular economies be based on and serve as a foundation for the African entrepreneur of the future to build innovation from.