Tuesday morning in the convention centre #GEC2019 saw the main opening session with a flurry of local press, media and security. Following the formal welcoming, the keynote speech this year was from Jonas Kjellberg, co-founder of Skype, author and investor. Jonas gave a provoking, humorous and self-deprecating talk about his successes but mostly his failures. He spoke of companies who mostly focus on efficiency and functionality and not on what will delight the customer. His story of how they rethought the business model for Skype was an example of how to disrupt an industry, examining how a traditional telco company works, and saying ‘how can we do that as zero cost?’
The second highlight for me, was the panel session run by Matt Smith of #CentreforEntrepreneurs on ‘How entrepreneurship is transforming the lives of resettled refugees’ – fascinating insights from Rwanda where the average length of time someone can expect to remain in refugee status is 19 years! A number of refugee programmes focusing on entrepreneurship are being studied by Michelle Richey at Loughborough University, not surprisingly, the benefits of these programmes for individuals include increases in self confidence and transferrable skills for employability as well as entrepreneurship.
Finally, the evening started with more from the guys across 6 countries, working together to assist entrepreneurs expand their markets and learn from each other – the GEN Asia group are an inspiration for other regions.