This week, I will join President Obama in Nairobi, Kenya, for the
sixth-annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. GES 2015 will shine a
spotlight on the extraordinary potential of entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan
Africa and beyond.
Five of the world’s 10-fastest growing
economies are African. Innovation hubs have sprung up in Nairobi, Cape
Town, and Lagos. A new generation of upstart entrepreneurs has formed
tightly knit communities committed to creating African-based solutions
to the region’s challenges.
Today, Nairobi is the site of major
African headquarters for Google, Microsoft and IBM and has earned itself
the nickname “Silicone Savannah” for the innovative ecosystem that has
taken root. But the region still faces obstacles. Limited banking
options make it difficult for entrepreneurs to access affordable
capital. Societal barriers make it difficult for young and female
entrepreneurs to access investors.
This week’s summit is an
opportunity to bring global investors into the conversation. Venture
capitalists from America and other countries will be on hand to hear
pitches from local entrepreneurs and offer mentoring, advice and
potential investment capital.
The world is knocking on Africa’s door to
be part of its extraordinary growth; the GES will help make sure that
door is wide open.President Obama is committed to making the
United States a partner in Africa’s growth. This promise includes
initiatives like Power Africa, which is working with African governments
and private sector leaders to add more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner
electricity to power 60 million homes and businesses.
administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative is helping to develop
business skills while cultivating a network for young emerging African
leaders.I am proud to be a leader of President’s Ambassadors for
Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) program.
I will be joined in Nairobi by
two of those ambassadors, FUBU founder Daymond John and Kiva Board Chair
Julie Hanna, who will share personal reflections on building successful
global brands.Each country will bring its own expertise to the
table, including our Kenyan hosts.
The average Kenyan owns multiple
businesses, whether it’s a small shamba garden that sells
mangos or a tech startup that provides fiber-optics and software
solutions. I look forward to learning from Kenyan business leaders, many
of whom participate in informal fundraising networks called chamas to
grow community-supported small businesses.
At GES, every country’s
entrepreneurs can tap into the knowledge of their global counterparts. I
plan to bring back useful insights that will help strengthen our
entrepreneurial ecosystems here at home....continue reading...
GES 2015: Why the Smart Money is On Kenya — GES 2015 - Global Entrepreneurship Summit