Cordaid and Impact Hub share the belief that entrepreneurs in complex contexts are incredibly resourceful and have immense potential.
The Re-Imagining Resilience conference hosted in Addis Ababa Ethiopia by Impact Hub and Cordaid aimed to explore what this means by answering questions around what it takes to become a truly global network that enables the development of a sustainable future through collaboration and entrepreneurship, and build resilient entrepreneurial ecosystems that contribute to reducing the vulnerability of entire nations.
The conference brought together players from the global and regional ecosystems to share their knowledge and experience, and to create meaningful and catalyzing connections. This created practical opportunities for collaboration informed by a new narrative of resilience.
Our Managing Director, Maria had the opportunity to give the opening speech at the conference and she stressed on collaboration being an important factor in the resilience story.
What better way is there to learn about resilience than to hear the stories and journeys entrepreneurs have lived?
What could we learn from these stories about what works?
What is it about the entrepreneur’s journey that can provoke our understanding and give us the opportunity to re-imagine resilience?
We heard from a number of entrepreneurs from around the region about the work that they do and the circumstances under which they have to work to accomplish their goals. A story of elder women solar engineers in Sudan was told by Gada Kadoda. The women with no women with no level of literacy were trained to become community solar engineers and developed community based and owned business. Gada’s story explored how the power of communities owning their business and creating a strong sense of purpose can unfold a sense of mission and risk taking to protect and rebuild their businesses, even in dangerous and life threatening situations.
From Venezuela, Impact Hub Caracas’ co-founder and director, Claudia Valladares talked about the deteriorating economic and security state of her country. Despite all these circumstances, entrepreneurs have been able to reframe their situation and start looking at things differently, promoting kindness and hope and seeking reconciliation while creating meaningful business through creative partnerships.
There were various workshop sessions on mapping out the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region, as well as finding and fixing the gaps in the ecosystem. Building on discussions we had from the workshops, we began prototyping what the characteristics of an ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs in their journey looked like.
After two days of working together, we saw the need of having more of such spaces and opportunities to get to know each other and share or stories. Entrepreneurs and support organizations are doing great jobs, but go through the same challenges. Knowledge sharing and collaboration are some of the ingredients needed in building a resilient entrepreneurial ecosystem.