The 5-day event took place from 22nd-26th February 2021, aiming to inform and inspire SMEs to do business in African markets, focussing on the Education, Life Science, Healthcare, Agri-Tech, Renewable Energy, and Infrastructure sectors. ETSL collaborated with ETK Group, Newable and colleagues from DIT both in the UK and in-market.
As a subsidiary of Exemplas Ltd, ETSL delivers the contract for the Department for International Trade in the East of England. ETSL’s team of International Trade Advisers (ITAs) help businesses to grow across the six East of England counties: Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex.
ETSL’s advisers were joined throughout the week by a range of market and sector specialists, covering topics such as the future of the Education sector post COVID-19, the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions and the role of British Agri-Tech in protecting food security.
Businesses heard from 56 speakers at 42 sessions throughout the week, including sessions with Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, and The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Businesses also benefitted from a comprehensive online hub of on-demand content, suitable for companies of any size considering exporting to Africa. The hub included webinar recordings covering mobile banking, negotiation, scam identification and NGO supply chains, and a new podcast series – Exemplas Trade: Opportunity Africa. The podcast features conversations with innovative UK companies about their experiences and successes in Africa.
Speaking ahead of the event, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, said: “Africa Week will create a valuable platform for [businesses] to see first-hand the concrete and diverse partnership opportunities waiting to be seized across Africa.”
Business Event Delivery Team member for DIT said, “The first day in particular was probably one of the best virtual events I have joined.”
Feedback from businesses attending “Africa Week” was positive:
“I found the sessions very informative and felt I learned a great deal about a market that I had limited knowledge of previously.”
“A wonderful fireside talk with Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations helped to set the scene for the week. I was inspired by the content of this. The education presentations felt very current and encouraging.”
“It was great and very insightful and inspiring.”
Staging Africa Week as a virtual event was the most effective way to bring together such a wide range of speakers and provide access to so many SMEs. ETSL’s ability to use virtual platforms to help SMEs access support more effectively is indicative of Exemplas’ wider “digital first” approach to business support services. At Exemplas, we deliver public sector contracts working with SMEs to develop strategies for growth, resilience, innovation, internationalisation and much more, using the best of digital in supporting our delivery partners.