Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

A flagship panel discussion at the Global Black Impact Summit 2024 (https://apo-opa.co/4bS2YzB) in Dubai unpacked the dynamics of black wealth and business building. Diana Matroos, journalist and radio host in the Netherlands, moderated the session, working with a diverse group of highly experienced panelists to work on the challenges for the black business community and expose opportunities and pathways forward.

The panel, titled Building Black Wealth: Exploring the Power and Potential of Black Entrepreneurship, featured Dr Betty Uribe, Former Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase, Author and United Nations Ambassador for Peace&Human Rights; Joel Nzali, Co-Founding Partner and Board President, Batsela Holding Group; Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr., Founder, Botho Emerging Markets Group and Head of Middle East and Africa, Propagate Content; and Mako Nyakotyo, Operations Executive, DMCC Coffee Centre.

Following this session, Black Impact Foundation Chairman Clarence Seedorf interviewed Khaled Al Muhairy, owner of Evolvence Group, in a wide-ranging discussion on investment and sports.

On the theme of building black wealth and nurturing entrepreneurs, Dr. Uribe emphasized the importance of values and how much can be achieved in a short time. She gave particular importance to the value of ‘champions’ for entrepreneurs starting out: “We need champions. A mentor will help you on your way. A champion will stake their reputation on you. You want to get together with champions. They may or may not be in your community.”

Nzali examined the challenges facing businesses – naming access to capital as by far the top issue: “[Many] people would not like to expose themselves to African countries, for example, because they don’t know what can happen. Many have misconceptions … they talk to me about all types of risk but fail to see the potential.”

Nyakotyo opened by talking about the importance of building your personal brand: “It’s very difficult to break the barriers here, the best you can do is to work on yourself.” He went on to discuss the importance of more experienced entrepreneurs assisting and nurturing aspiring businesspeople: “We really need to have more and more mentorship programs, that is also missing. We also have to learn from each other.”

Kwaku focused on encouraging collaboration within the community: “Nobody will support black entrepreneurs if we don’t support them.” He pointed to the critical work to be done on processing and operations in building African businesses that can sustainably scale. “The middle is the work,” he said. Though people will be drawn to the professions such as law and medicine, we also need to focus on optimization, processing and operations, “to produce things that matter.”

In Seedorf’s on-stage interview with Muhairy, the Emirati businessman discussed sport as a powerful tool for outreach and engagement, and new technologies as a driving force in Africa’s growth. “Education was a challenge, now with Starlink and internet technologies we can download a whole curriculum. If Africa focuses on education, we will see a lot of advancement,” he said. “We need platforms where we can see talent. It is very hard in a transit city like Dubai … The best way to get Africa out there is in technology. It is easy wealth creation and distribution of wealth.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital&Power.

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