Feeding a passion for growth: a chat to Finance Indaba founder Alex van Groningen

“We have been blown away by the number of partners and visitors the Finance Indaba Africa is attracting in its very first year,” says Alex van Groningen, the Dutch entrepreneur behind the successful knowledge sharing event on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

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The phenomenal response to the continent's inaugural Finance Indaba Africa speaks of the hunger finance professionals have for information and knowledge to help their businesses - and their countries - prosper, says Alex, the founder and owner of the company that proudly bears his name. In The Netherlands, Alex van Groningen BV has built a renowned, double-decade long reputation for crafting communities for knowledge sharing, networking and career building.

Now, with a solid presence in South Africa, the irrepressible entrepreneur is excited about the huge in-roads being made to revolutionalise finance practices in African countries - with the Finance Indaba Africa leading the way. "I quickly fell in love with South Africa when I started visiting the country many years ago," explains Alex. Four years ago he launched his South African venture CFO South Africa, which organises events for finance executives - with the CFO Awards as annual highlight.

"In the course of the last four years, I have noticed the enormous hunger for knowledge sharing and networking among all South African finance professionals," he explains.

"That is why we started the Finance Indaba Africa! We want to feed the passion we encounter at every event we host. We want all finance professionals to have access to inspirational speakers, practical information on the latest trends, access to the most relevant exhibitors and unparalleled networking opportunities."

Describing The Finance Indaba Africa as "a game-changer for finance professionals", Alex notes that it is poised to be the biggest and best event of this nature that the continent has ever seen. Consisting of a large expo and a conference, which will be based on the agenda of the CFO of the future, "it will be a place where finance people can showcase results and best practices, frankly debate challenges and solutions, experiment and try out products and make new connections," says Alex.

Asked what he will consider to be a successful event, he smiles broadly. "We have been blown away by the number of partners and visitors the Finance Indaba Africa is attracting in its very first year - with 70 exhibitors and over 5,000 finance professionals registered! But personally, I am already happy if one person finds a job through the event, if one person learns something that will help his or her company make more profit and if one person is inspired to contribute to the future of Africa with renewed vigour."

There are 81 keynote speakers during the two-day finance feast, which will also host the first ever FinTech Africa Awards. Amongst some of the biggest attractions will be talks by the doyen of corporate governance Prof Mervyn King, irresistible entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo and South Africa's most inspiring accountant Coenie Middel. Alex is also flying over two of his most successful speakers from The Netherlands, 'lifehacker' Martijn Aslander and productivity guru Marcel van den Berg. "The event will be an annual finance extravaganza that African finance professionals simply cannot afford to miss."