East London hosts first Global Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

East London International Convention Centre
East London International Convention Centre

EAST London was recently the host city for the 5th Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship, a bi-annual interactive forum for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, policy makers and donor representatives from across the world. It was the first time that this three day forum has been held in Africa.

Commenting on the significance of this conference before the event, the Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mcebisi Jonas said: “Innovation and entrepreneurship are recognised worldwide among the key ingredients for stimulating economic growth and the conference will expose the latest developments.”
Over 750 delegates representing both developed and developing countries from across the world gathered at the East London International Convention Centre (ELICC) between 28 and 30 May and for many it was a first visit to South Africa and particularly the Eastern Cape.

Wayne Neath, sales manager of Premier Hotels and Resorts, said: “Every year we find at trade shows that there are more new business and leisure travelling buyers who are interested in East London as a destination. In addition to the world class conferencing and business services available, there is also a wealth of beach and bush experiences on offer.”

Since 1991 the group has built a strong reputation of offering a range of service-orientated luxury hotels and conference venues carefully situated in the mainstream of regional business and travel destinations in South Africa. Three hotels in East London, Premier Hotel Regent, Premier Hotel King David, Premier Hotel EL ICC, the Mpongo Private Game Reserve (about 35 km from East London) and the ELICC play a strong role in their service offering. “Together with the ELICC, which we manage, our hospitality properties in the Eastern Cape are providing jobs to over 800 people,” said Sigal Nassimov-Geva, assistant operations manager of Premier Hotels and Resorts.

Ms Nassimov-Geva said that with its subtropical climate, East London is a sought-after conference destination year round for both local and international clients and the East London International Convention Centre, as a multi-functional venue equipped with state-of-the-art technology, is well suited to host a variety of top quality events. When partnered with the luxurious Premier Hotel ELICC and Premier Hotel Regent delegates can enjoy the convenience of seamless on-site accommodation.

Incorporating good practices from other global events, the Global Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship took advantage of the ELICC technology by featuring “Davos style” panel sessions to foster open debates and lively interaction, the use of external moderators, small group work and the facilitation of remote participation; all designed to provide ample opportunity for networking, dialogue, training and sharing of experiences.

Delegates at the Global Forum were clearly impressed.  “It was a fantastic event and very practical. The accommodation and catering was brilliant and it was so convenient to be going to a convention and having the hotel joined to it.” said one of the attendees, Nicki Goh, private sector advisor at the UK Department for International Development. Ms Goh, who is a first-time visitor to South Africa, said the Eastern Cape and South Africa is wonderful.

“We are very proud of having hosted such a significant event successfully in East London and we look forward to welcome some of these and other new guests back to the Eastern Cape soon for business and or leisure,” Ms Nassimov-Geva said.