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.
Ms. Hanna and Mr. John are two of the newest members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, a program launched by President Obama and chaired by Secretary Pritzker. PAGE deploys some of America’s top business minds across the country and around the world to inspire, mentor, advise, and guide the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Secretary Pritzker will join President Obama at the official GES opening tomorrow.
In addition to leading today’s panel, Secretary Pritzker met with government officials including U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec and Kenya’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Amina Mohamed.
This is the first GES held in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the dynamism and potential of this region.