World Economic Forum: Day three recap
Friday 5 May marked the last day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa. Throughout the summit, African Business Review has been recapping on the announcements, ideas, and debates produced by this meeting of global economic leaders.
For our final recap, we summarised the final day of the Forum:
- Africa needs to breed more unicorns. Hear us out – in a discussion on technology, significant African entrepreneurs debated what can be done to produce more African unicorns, i.e. tech start-ups valued at $1 billion. Rapelang Rabana, founder of Rekindle Learning was on the panel. “Innovation is a conviction that something should be better,” said Rabana. “It’s the tool that really helps us close critical gaps in our education and infrastructure.”
- The discussion about youth empowerment continued from day two. Obiageli Katryn Ezekwel, Co-Founder of Transparency International argued that African leaders are cut off from the young populations they serve.
- Likewise, arguments for intra-regional trade resurfaced. Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s Finance Minister argued that Africa must boost its intra-regional trade and identify new emerging markets on the continent.
- African scientific experts pushed for more research and scientific innovation. A discussion with Thomas Kariuki, Director of African Academy of Sciences, Tolu Oni, Associate Professor in Public Health and other experts highlighted a current dearth of scientific potential on the continent.
- WEF held an inspiring session on Africa’s breakthrough innovators. Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja, a winner of WEF’s search for Africa’s top female tech innovators, spoke about her unique venture, Fresh Direct. Her company builds urban farms in old shipping containers, providing high-tech jobs in the process.
Thus, the World Economic Forum comes to an end with notable ideological solutions for the growth of Africa’s economy. Stand-out solutions include more responsive leadership, investment in youth, inclusion of the poor in economic conversations and greater intra-regional trade.
Can Africa transform such ideological solutions into functional economic policies? We’ll keep you updated…
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.