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Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Developing Countries: Stakes and Opportunities for Financing Social Innovation and Climate Change Resilience.

October 4, 2021
10am – 11:30 am Washington D.C Time (2pm – 3:30pm GMT)


Of the 2,000 technology incubators and 150 accelerators that exist worldwide, fewer than 70 are climate technology incubators and accelerators, and only 25 of these are located in developing countries (UNFCCC, 2018b). The expansion of these business support structures remains limited in developing countries due to a number of constraints they face. Being mostly very young, they remain isolated in the different countries and operate at very heterogeneous levels of professionalism, with a lack of resources or adapted tools. As a result, business support structures do not allow beneficiary entrepreneurs to overcome the main challenges of the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. The main problem is that of funding to deal with the risks associated with the process of technological innovation, particularly with regard to the climate. Indeed, business support structures have the primary aim of catalysing the development of more sustainable and inclusive societies. They thus have a significant role to play in the creation of low-emission and climate-resilient technologies.


The main objective of this event is to provide a platform for high-level experts to discuss the requirements of strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in developing countries. The discussion will focus on the stakes and opportunities for financing social innovation and climate change resilience.

More specifically, it will provide an opportunity to:

  • Analyse the models of business support in Africa and their compatibility with the economic and entrepreneurial realities of the continent;
  • Present the risks associated with the process of technological innovation and ways to improve their impact;
  • Discuss the importance of catalysing the financial capacity of business support structures in the developing countries in order to reduce risk associated with technological innovation;
  • Exchange ways for existing business support structures to attract the public and private funding needed to turn their ideas into solutions.

Format of the event

This event represents a platform par excellence for non-politicized discussions based on evidence, facts, and statistics. The format of the 90-minutes discussion is as follows:

  • The panel will constitute four experts and one moderator. Following an opening statement expected to last 3 minutes, each panellist will have 5 minutes per question, with follow up questions and assessments to ensure that we address issues related to strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in developing countries.
  • The entire discussion will be video recorded and streamed live on the social media platforms of the World Bank and the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation. During this discussion, the panelists will argue their points of view based on facts, statistics and experiences. PowerPoint presentations will not be allowed.


Jean Pesme - Global Director, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation, World Bank Group

As Global Director, Finance in the Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation (FCI) Global Practice, Jean leads the World Bank’s work to promote the development of sound, stable, sustainable, and inclusive financial systems. His global team of experts works with governments and partners to make financial systems more resilient, to open access to finance for poor and vulnerable people, to support economic activity and to develop financial markets. Their strategy and its implementation emphasize development of digital financial services, addressing climate change and sustainable finance and creating opportunities for women by bolstering their financial inclusion.

Previously, Jean led the World Bank’s Financial Stability and Integrity global team, which assists countries in building and restoring robust and resilient financial systems operating with integrity, transparency and in compliance with international standards and recommendations. He has extensive experience working on financial sector issues, notably in the Middle East and North Africa

Erin Tansey - Director, Sustainable Inclusive Economies, IDRC

Erin is the director of IDRC’s Sustainable Inclusive Economies program. Erin joined IDRC in November 2020. She brings over 20 years of experience in international development and humanitarian sectors within Canadian and international non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and bilateral development programs. She worked with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) in Malawi, CARE Canada in Bosnia Herzegovina, the Unites Nations Refugee Agency in Thailand, Algeria and Ghana, the United Nations World Food Programme in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa and with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Pretoria, South Africa.  Erin has worked on various applied research projects and was the coordinator of research for the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Partnership on HIV and Mobility in Southern Africa, generating new evidence and thought leadership in applied policy in this field.

Most recently, Erin worked on a governance program with Global Affairs Canada together with the South African government. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French Literature from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Windsor.

Nelson Amo - CEO Innohub Foundation

Nelson Amo is the CEO of Innohub Foundation, a Business Accelerator and Impact Investment Platform. He has experience in business development, business model innovation and project management in the profit and non-profit sectors. He has worked with MTN and Youth Bridge Foundation where he co-managed the Euro Africa Youth Parliament in Berlin and the African Youth & Governance Conferences in Accra, Lusaka and Johannesburg. He is a Commonwealth Scholar, with an MSc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Nelson is an alumni of Action Institute and a Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Fellow. He is a Coach of the Africa Entrepreneurship Awards, Academy Manager for MBC Africa’s Growing Business Together Initiative and Lead Trainer for British Council Accra’s ‘Ready to Work’ Business Incubator Program.

Bijon Islam - Cofounder and CEO of LightCastle Partners, Bangladesh

Bijon is the cofounder and CEO of Light Castle Partners, an organization that focuses on creating data-driven opportunities for growth and impact for development partners, corporates, SMEs and Startups. Over the last five years Bijon has led the company in engagements across 100+ businesses/development partners, 300+ SMEs/Startups and 20+ accelerator programs in multiple industries including Technology, Agriculture, Health, Energy and Manufacturing. Recently, LightCastle has also partnered to launch a Smart Capital Investment Program which facilitates growth capital for SMEs/Startups.

Previously Bijon has worked with Citibank, N.A. and Citi Foundation and oversaw execution of Bangladesh’s first Interest Rate Swap, Equity Convertible Bonds, Largest IPO, Microfinance Securitization and Block Equity Trades. Due to outstanding performance, Bijon had received the CEO Excellence Awards for two years in a row in the organization.

In 2015 Bijon was nominated as 15 under 35 in Bangladesh by Future Startup (leading Startup media in Bangladesh) and Top 7 Rising Young CEOs by Startup Dhaka. Bijon is an active ecosystem builder and has attended 50+ entrepreneurship development events as judge/panelist/resource-person including Startup Weekend, Startup Cup and Innovation Extreme.

Bijon has Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration from Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.

June Arunga Kimani - Chief Executive Officer at Usafi Comfort


Named one of Forbes’ Youngest Powerful Women in Africa in 2011, June Arunga is committed to bringing economic and financial access to African communities. From cell phone technology to waste water treatment, hear Arunga talk about the perils and potential of innovation from her diverse experiences running multiple businesses in Africa.

June Arunga Kimani is an entrepreneur in film production, mobile payments platforms, and most recently sanitation. Her new company, Usafi Comfort, will bring to market an affordable alternative to traditional sewer systems in Kenya and East Africa. In 2007, June became a founding partner of Black Star Line SA, a Ghana-based technology solution provider in the fields of cell phone-based payments and money transfer with a strong focus on the African market. These efforts, among others, led to her recognition in 2010 as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company Magazine and one of Forbes Magazine’s 20 Youngest Powerful Women in Africa in 2011.




Dr. Denis Foretia - Co-Chair, Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation; Executive Chairman, Nkafu Policy Institute

Dr Denis ForetiaDr. Foretia is Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation and Senior Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute, a leading Cameroonian think tank. Along with Co-Chair Lenora Ebule, he shapes and approves strategy, advocates for the foundation, and helps set the overall direction. He is also the Chairman of Merckshire LLC, an international holding company with operations in the US and Cameroon. A surgeon by training, Foretia has always been involved in philanthropic activities and issues related to governance, international development and public policy. He is currently the President of the Association of Cameroonian Physicians in the Americas (ACPA).

Foretia recently joined the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as an Assistant Professor and Associate Director for Africa in the Global Surgery Institute. Prior to this he was a faculty in the department of surgery at Johns Hopkins University and staff acute care surgeon at Lifebridge Health. He is also an Associate in the department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, a Doctor of Medicine degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee. He also holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Carey School of Business also at the Johns Hopkins University.

The event is finished.


Oct 04 2021


GMT - Time
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


Zoom Online

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