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When In Rome...

Thom Ruhe

I recently returned from participating in the 2nd Annual Rome Forum of the Harambe Entrepreneurial Alliance, hosted by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The purpose for the Forum was to support and elevate the work of the Harambe Entrepreneurial Alliance. The Alliance is comprised of young African Entrepreneurs studying at, or recently graduated from, prestigious schools from around the world, who are all now returning to their African heritage by growing promising companies on the continent. In doing so, they are changing the face and the fortunes of Africa.

Some of the companies these bright minds have started include:

The Exposure Robotics League is cultivating Nigerian creativity and technical problem solving skills by exposing young minds to robotics.

Enzi Footwear is a footwear brand that develops and markets 100 percent African footwear using premium sheepskin leather for men's casual dress shoes.

Maisha Concept is a Hong Kong based fashion label using rich fabrics sourced Africa in its one-of-a-kind clothing line.

Rome1These and many other great companies, led by young entrepreneurs giving back to the countries that birthed them, are leading a growth wave that is forcing the world to rethink the possibilities and market opportunities of the rich and diverse tapestry of 54 countries that is Africa.

Equally exciting for me was the recognition by the Pontifical Council that having an entrepreneurial mindset is a basic human right, especially for marginalized populations. The consensus that collectively we can build a better future by embracing an entrepreneurial mindset is a powerful idea that once embraced, changes and empowers people toward a better future.

Another assessment of the Forum, including three lessons that any business can and should adopt, written by Ije Nwokorie, can be found here.

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