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De'Andre Brown, U.S. Delegate at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Africa: My Experience

Updated: May 13, 2022

Attending a Forbes 30 Under 30 event isn't something most people think about because it's often thought of as something for the elite and those who have mastered their craft and are changing the world. I am honored to have been selected as a U.S. Delegate to attend the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Africa.

Attending the Summit was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the business landscape and meet some of the most impressive young entrepreneurs on the continent. This blog post will share my thoughts on the summit and what I took away from it.

TEDx Circle at the University of South Africa

The first official day of the summit started with a TedX event at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria. The theme for this year's TedX was "The Power of Us," and it did not disappoint. I was blown away by the caliber of speakers and their messages. My favorite speaker was Adjunct Associate Professor Mthunzi Perry-Mason Mdwaba. He spoke about "A Case for Investing in South Africa" and highlighted the following: for people to begin investing in South Africa, the people of South Africa must take themselves more seriously, talk about all the good that's happening, and uplift each other.

Sustainability in Botswana

During the main summit event, there were many focuses; however, the one that interested me most was the topic of Sustainability in Botswana. I attended a few sessions on this topic, and I learned a lot. For example, in Botswana, 80% of the population lives in rural areas, and only 20% have access to clean water. This is an issue because often, when people don't have access to clean water, they resort to unclean sources, leading to them getting waterborne illnesses.

I was also able to learn about some of the innovative ways people are working to solve this problem. For example, a company called Drop is working on a technology that can turn any source of water into clean drinking water. I think this is amazing because if it works, it could potentially change the lives of millions of people around the world.

People and Culture of Botswana

While in Kasane, Botswana, I ventured out to the market, where I got to purchase authentic jewelry and clothing made by the people of Kasane. Most importantly, I got to walk around and have meaningful conversations with people and taste original recipes that I wouldn't have access to back home in the U.S. The people were welcoming and wanted to engage and share where they were from and talk about their culture.

Networking and Connecting Across the World

Finally, one of the most invaluable parts of being a Delegate for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit was meeting people from across the world who are the brightest in their fields. The most exciting part about the networking aspect of the Summit is you had no idea who people were. Most conferences have name badges that are color-coded or have some categorization; however, we were all the same. This type of setup allowed us to get to know the person organically without anyone expecting anything from anyone. As a result, I connected with people from different industries, and I am now part of a global network of young entrepreneurs.

I am so grateful for this experience and everything that I learned. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend a Forbes 30 Under 30 event to do so because it is an experience that you will never forget.

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