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Africa's entrepreneurs on the rise

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Honig’s remarks came at “Unleashing Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies,” a conference hosted last week at the Hult International Business School in Boston.

He believes such ingenuity can be tapped and shared across the world. “Micro-credit, cell phone banking. These are African innovations that are just starting to make an impact in Canada and the US.”

Honig is part of a movement in the business school world, a movement that sees local, on-the-ground entrepreneurship as the most effective way to help kick-start the economies of developing nations.

He was joined at the Hult conference by professors from business schools in the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain, Pakistan, Nigeria, and more. “We’re all optimists,” says Joanne Lawrence, who teaches corporate responsibility and social innovation at Hult. “We all see Africa rising.”

One reason why Africa is moving up: access to capital.

“Innovation requires capital, but historically people from outside the US have had limited access to funding,” says Mike Grandinetti, managing director at Southboro Capital and entrepreneurship professor at Hult. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, “the venture industry has turned on its head. We now have an extraordinary opportunity for new ventures around the world.”

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