World Business Angel Forum 2020: bringing together key players to empower the world economy
My participation at the WBAF 2020 world congress
I always try to attend our member World Congress WBAF 2020, because it presents a unique mix of angel investors (all successful entrepreneurs in their own right), senior government policymakers, and others focused on supporting dynamic SMEs.
This year had numerous ministers, as well as a large number of startups drawn by WBAF’s first annual startup competition. The prize, for the latter, is co-investment by WBAF’s new Global Startup Fund, an important new initiative. There was also the launch of WBAF’s “business school”, offering certification for prospective angel investors, and networking with successful, established angels.
Even though I was able to attend only the second day of this fascinating event, I had the honor to make two presentations, one about the implications of new fintech developments for the financing of SMEs, and a second, during the closing plenary, about IFC’s work in supporting investment in SMEs through the SME Ventures program, which focuses on fragile and conflict-affected states.
I was able to reconnect with several old friends and meet many new and interesting ones, including a number of startups with strong SME financing potential. It also was great to see continued expansion of WBAF’s “High Commissioner” and “Senator” programs, which now include 73 countries worldwide. WBAF High Commissioners are typically individuals who hold high-level positions of responsibility or who are known as influencers or thought leaders. WBAF Senators are the movers and shakers of their country’s ecosystem. They may be, for example, academicians, members of their country’s stock exchange, technopark members, active in country-specific angel networks and/or the chamber of commerce, professionals of global corporates or involved in policymaking. As a global organization, WBAF is bringing together key players of the equity markets to discuss the benefits and challenges of achieving successful growth for businesses and to explore additional possibilities for empowering the world economy. We in the SME Finance Forum are very pleased to have WBAF as one of our founding members!