While at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, last month, I had the opportunity to witness a powerful exchange between U.S. Culinary Ambassador for Clean Cookstoves and famous Chef Jose Andres and a group of African chefs who were catering the event.
As the Administration’s point person on entrepreneurship, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined President Obama in Nairobi, Kenya to attend the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). At the summit, Secretary Pritzker had the opportunity to highlight the work that the Department of Commerce does to address and support innovation, and meet with entrepreneurs, investors, educators, government officials, and business representatives from around the world.
“Kenya may well be on its way to becoming a ‘silicon savannah,’ a hub of excellence and innovation in technology,” OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield wrote in a piece published in All Africa, as she joined President Barack Obama on a historic trip to Africa. “The goal, of course, is to ensure that Africa can do more than catch up with others. The goal is to give Africa a chance to lead,” Littlefield wrote.
Elizabeth Holmes is committed to improving living conditions around the world for women, young girls and developing economies. As CEO and founder of Theranos, a consumer healthcare technology company, she wants people to know that they can stand up for themselves and live their best lives.
Daymond John, known for his role as an angel investor on ABC’s hit television show “Shark Tank,” says that “the idea of being an entrepreneur is the DNA of this country.” Daymond John is the CEO and Founder of FUBU, a global lifestyle brand and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales. For his entrepreneurial work, he has received over 35 awards including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Launched by President Obama in 2009, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) brings together entrepreneurs and investors from across Africa and around the world annually to showcase innovative projects, exchange new ideas, and help spur economic opportunity.
Paris Wanjiru Uses a Solar-Powered Light Created by M-Kopa When Paris Wanjiru, a 17-year-old student in Muranga, Kenya, first saw the solar-powered lamp her mother bought, she was so excited she stayed up until 1 a.m. studying chemistry. Now that she can study after the sun sets, her grades have improved; she now aspires to study chemistry at Kenya University.
Our Power Africa initiative has been leveraging private capital to invest in electrification all across the continent. And our preliminary goal was 10,000 megawatts; now we’re looking at 30,000 megawatts, and we’re well on our way.
Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world -- it’s the spark of prosperity. It helps citizens stand up for their rights and push back against corruption. Entrepreneurship offers a positive alternative to the ideologies of violence and division that can all too often fill the void when young people don’t see a future for themselves.
In 2013, President Obama launched Power Africa, an innovative partnership to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 600 million people currently lack access. During the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014, President Obama reaffirmed that Power Africa’s reach extends across all of sub-Saharan Africa and tripled Power Africa’s goals to work towards adding 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new, cleaner electricity generation capacity and increasing electricity access by at least 60 million new connections.
Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) member Alison Rosenthal believes that effective partnerships play a critical role in the creation and success of businesses.
Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) member and Venture for America CEO Andrew Yang believes that preparing recent college graduates for the 21st century workforce is crucially important to American business. “I think that’s what people want to preserve and sustain: that spirit of enterprise that’s made this country great for its entire history,” he said.
Throughout his career, Andrew has worked in start-ups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test preparation company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software start-up.
Because of his innovative approaches to business, Andrew has been recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change, and Fast Company has named him as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.”
To provide critical skills training for young people, Andrew founded and is currently the CEO of Venture for America, a fellowship program that places top college graduates in start-ups for two years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs.
As a PAGE member, Andrew has created a Signature Initiative to help prepare even more young people. Andrew will provide the technical assistance to enable the adoption of a native "Venture for Country" in nations interested in stimulating regional economic growth and the development of entrepreneurs. Domestically, Andrew will recruit and train 500 aspiring young entrepreneurs in the United States, including 200 women and 100 underrepresented minorities, to work and launch companies in Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, Cleveland, St. Louis, Providence, and other U.S. cities.
Watch Andrew talk here about the PAGE program and the importance of supporting young people to become successful entrepreneurs.
Launched in April 2014, PAGE was created to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad. The initiative formed as a partnership among celebrated entrepreneurs, the White House, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of State. In the initiative’s first year, PAGE members utilized their knowledge, ideas, and talent to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and around the world to promote the program’s mission. As PAGE kicks off its second year, each ambassador has agreed to take the lead on his or her own signature initiative to address the global growing demand for engagement with America’s most respected and celebrated business creators.
Before the official start of the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), nearly 300 young and women entrepreneurs came together today to learn, to get practical advice, to make the connections that will take their enterprises to the next level, and to hear stories and receive guidance from top American and global innovators.
Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) member Alison Rosenthal believes that effective partnerships play a critical role in the creation and success of businesses. Since September 2014, Alison has served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Wealthfront, Inc., an automated investment service. Prior to Wealthfront, Ali served as Chief Operating Officer of MessageMe, a company that develops and offers a multimedia messaging application for mobile devices, and as Executive in Residence at Greylock Partners, a leading venture capital firm.
Earlier today, at the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit Youth + Women Event, I announced the launch of the Artisan Enterprise Multimedia Competition, an exciting new campaign that will engage artisans, artists, and supporters to tell the story of artisans.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, today signed a mandate letter to begin financing discussions with Mawingu Networks, a provider of solar-powered wireless internet across rural Kenya.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit Youth and Women Day (GES Y+W) will convene 150 established youth and women entrepreneurs along with investors, speakers, and leaders in the entrepreneurship space. The select group of youth and women entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to share their success stories, take part in skills trainings, participate in a pitch competition, and hear from dynamic speakers including celebrity and entrepreneur artist Akon, world renowned chef José Andrés, Fubu Founder Daymond John, Kiva’s Executive Chair Julie Hanna, and UN Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi.
The Spark the Fire pitch competition will take place on Friday, July 24, 2015 during the Youth and Women Event at the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. Thirty entrepreneurs from around the world will compete for a chance to win US$30,000 in cash and additional prizes.
The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Emory University’s Social Enterprise @ Goizueta will announce the launch of the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI)—a first-time comprehensive market assessment and analysis of accelerators—at the Sixth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The announcement will be made by Randall Kempner, executive director of ANDE, during a moderated session on entrepreneurship on Saturday, July 25.