Global Entrepreneurship Summit Comes to Nairobi

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.  The 2015 GES agenda will focus on generating new investments for entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on women and youth.  The selection of Nairobi as host city for the 2015 GES underscores how Africa — notably Kenya — has become a center for innovation and entrepreneurship.  Kenya is a world leader in mobile money systems, like m-pesa, and a driver of innovation through technology research and incubation labs like “iHub.” and Nairobi Garage.

Since 2009, GES has emerged as a global platform connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations, and governments looking to support them. This is the first time GES will take place in sub-Saharan Africa.

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.

As part of a day-long event, focused exclusively on the challenges and opportunities faced by youth and women, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker – a business leader in her own right and the Obama Administration’s point-person on entrepreneurship – moderated a panel discussion on “Becoming Investor Ready,” featuring Chef Jose Andres, a culinary innovator and owner of ThinkFood Group; Julie Hanna, Chair of the Board of Kiva, the world’s first and largest crowd lending marketplace for global entrepreneurs; and Daymond John, Founder of FUBU and CEO of Shark Branding.

These iconic U.S.-based entrepreneurs and investors talked about how they raised funds, overcame challenges, and created successful businesses. They encouraged the audience of entrepreneurs to be willing to take risks, and to surround themselves with people who add new ideas and skills to their enterprise. They spoke about how fostering entrepreneurship can spur the development of new products and services, create jobs for workers, and anchor communities and families worldwide.

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