23 Energising East African Entrepreneurs and Women Traders B esides investment and large scale manufacturing East Africa’s economic success will also depend on the ability of its businesses and citizen to de- velop innovative products and services. Against this backdrop the second edition of the East African Busi- ness and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition themed “Accelerating Industrialization, Innovation and Investment in the EAC“ was held in November 2017 in Dar es Salaam. The annual event aims at providing an opportunity for business to business and government to business engagement. It is a platform for financiers and innovators to strengthen entrepreneurship within the EAC, a regional one stop centre for investment and trade opportunities. This year, a unique mix of creative people from diverse entrepreneurial sectors participated, leading to an inno- vative exchange of experiences and views from different angles and backgrounds. The approach of “design think- ing” aimed at reflecting on the cross cutting issues in regards to the implementation of the common market protocol and promoting regional integration by refer- ring to the common cultural identity. The simultaneous exhibition gave participants the opportunity to present products and services and serve as points of contact. Five partners from the Incubator for Integration and Innovation in East Africa (IIDEA) showcased their work, built linkages and made relevant contacts. GIZ Senior Advisor Joyce Kevin Abalo Kimaro presented IIDEA and its role in promoting and connecting hubs, labs, and start-ups in the EAC. The Gender and Trade Session observed that women, particularly in develop- ing countries, find themselves less able to make use of the opportunities that regional and international trade bring due to inequalities in economic, political and le- gal rights and their limited access to banking and credit facilities. Yet in the EAC region, women contribute to the economy as traders, producers, workers, consumers and tax payers. It is estimated that 75% of traders across borders in East Africa are women. The session ´Scaling up the Contribution of Women Entrepreneurs in the Regional and International Trade` was convened by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the East Afri- can Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) and GIZ. It brought different women entrepreneurs and experts to- gether to discuss trends, opportunities, and approaches for overcoming challenges faced by the women in inter- national and regional trade. Participants, mostly women traders, from the EAC Partner States highlighted their experiences and successes in engaging in trade at na- tional, regional, and international levels. The session re- sulted in recommendations to improve the awareness of women and thereby their potential to benefit from the East African integration. The EAC Secretariat will work with the sector committees and councils to implement these recommendations.