In one month an international group of leaders from digital marketing and commerce firms will gather in Cape Town for the inaugural BigFive Summit, the first-ever event focused on digitally enabling small business in Africa and the Middle East.
The summit’s agenda is focused on how companies are building and selling software and services to the region’s small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) across the five pillars of the digital marketing and commerce ecosystem: location, mobile, payments, search and social.
For those of you who haven’t yet decided whether to participate, we offer the following Five Reasons to Attend the BigFive Summit.
No. 1: Small Business is Africa’s Future
Four years ago, the World Economic Forum declared that “SMEs Are Key to Growth in Africa”. There are more than 40 million small businesses on the African continent and they account for about 80% of the region’s employment.
African and Middle Eastern small businesses are hungry for knowledge and assistance as they embark on their individual digital transformation journeys. According to preliminary results from the BigFive Executive Survey (you can still add your voice to this project and receive a discount code to attend the Summit), only 4% of executives at BigFive companies describe their small business customers as “very ready” for digital transformation.
There is a tremendous opportunity to educate small businesses and become their trusted advisors in the process. The Summit agenda is designed to further participants’ understanding of what AME small businesses need and how best to sell to them.
No. 2: No Success Without Partnerships
Companies worldwide have recognized the enormity of the small business opportunity. Yet those that have approached the opportunity assuming they have all of the answers have generally failed. Selling digital services to small businesses requires a mix of products and services across the BigFive pillars. Few companies have built all of the tools necessary to go to market with a complete solution. Partnerships are essential to success.
BigFive has created a robust environment for companies with complementary needs to meet, form relationships, learn from each other, and develop mutually beneficial partnerships.
The Summit has three designated evening events (on 12, 13 and 14 May) designed to facilitate networking. The Summit organizers are also committed to assisting each delegate with appropriate introductions to ensure a quality networking experience.
No. 3: Learn in Order to Earn
We often speak of the need to educate the region’s small businesses about how to use digital technology to improve their business lives. It’s at least as important for us to educate ourselves on how technology is changing the industry and what new opportunities are emerging. Knowledge is a competitive advantage in a fast-moving market. And the BigFive Summit is designed to help delegates extract the latest knowledge available from thought leaders across the BigFive pillars.
The Summit features headline talks from thought leaders with deep expertise in the latest trends in payments, software as a service, location marketing, e-commerce, conversational commerce, AI and machine learning, search and social media marketing, SEO, B2B sales methodology, and much more.
No. 4: Not Just an Event, an Ecosystem
The BigFive Summit is not a one and done event, but rather the kick off for an organization, BigFive Digital, formed to build a community of AME companies with a common goal of developing the regions’ digital marketing and commerce ecosystem for small business. Attending BigFive Summit is a first step toward joining this community and benefitting from its growth and development.
No. 5: Cape Town in Digital Africa’s Epicenter
Location is never the sole reason to attend a conference, but it is always a contributing factor. Cape Town is Africa’s digital hub, with a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and developers incubating new businesses across the BigFive pillars. For this reason alone Cape Town is an ideal location for the BigFive Summit.
There are few destinations as enticing to leisure travelers as Cape Town. Temperatures are mild in May, making it a great time of year to explore the stunning coastline, climb Table Mountain, visit wineries, or enjoy fine dining on the V&A Waterfront, where the Summit takes place. If you are attending the BigFive Summit from outside the Western Cape region, be sure to allow extra days to see the sights.