Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015

Nairobi, Kenya, July 25-26, 2015

DAY 0 – Friday, July 24

TBC – Welcome reception hosted by the Government of Kenya

DAY 1 – Saturday, July 25


         Doors open to the Opening Plenary

10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Opening Plenary  

11:30-12:30 PM

           Networking/ Innovation Marketplace

12:30 - 1:45 PM


1:50 - 2:00 PM

            Spark Talk

2:00 - 3:15 PM

Conversation 1: Financing Entrepreneurship:  A broad range of investors will discuss a range of tools, mechanisms, and new programs which can increase the ability of entrepreneurs around the world to access the capital they need to grow.

Conversation 2: Getting Ready for Growth: This session will explore both from a macro- and microeconomic view the factors that make a country/ sector competitive as well as tactics and tools entrepreneurs need to identify and capitalize on new opportunities.

Conversation 3: Expanding Horizons:  The Next Brilliant Cadre of Women Entrepreneurs: This dynamic panel will discuss the rising power and potential of women entrepreneurs to create innovative businesses and social impact; what it takes to bring the next big idea to global markets; how to scale a successful domestic business to be able to compete in regional and global value chains; and the important role of building strong entrepreneurial eco-systems to advance women’s entrepreneurship.

Workshop 1: Protecting Intellectual Capital: This session is designed to give participants practical tools for protecting intellectual property.  How can you adequately protect your idea?  Where do you turn for information on patents and trademarks? Where and when should you file?

3:15 - 3:45 p.m.

Coffee Break/Networking

Speed Mentoring: Financing

3:50-4:00 p.m.

Spark Talk

4:00 -5:30 p.m.

Conversation 4: David and Goliath: Linking to International Supply Chains: Developing partnerships with established corporates can be an important stepping stone for growth for an entrepreneur. However for the partnership to be mutually beneficial there are a number of components that need to be in place. Delegates can learn from those who have successfully done so, distilling key best practices from their own experiences.

Conversation 5: Focus on Africa: Different Business Models for Africa. Just as some countries 'leapfrogged' over wired telephone networks to wireless and digital economies, the rapidly growing economies of Africa have the opportunity to go beyond 'tried-and-true' business models to new mechanisms more suited to ever-changing local, regional, and international markets.  Come hear how individuals have created unique business models that respond to the challenges of operating in Africa with ingenuity to serve their customers profitably.

Conversation 6: Building the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs: This session will provide an overview of activities and programs to support the ongoing work of ensuring entrepreneurs continue to thrive. (Conversation will be followed by workshops on Specialty Incubators and Innovation Hubs, as well as by Challenge Hacks. )

Workshop 2: Bootstrapping & Noncommercial Financing: This session surveys the growing network of noncommercial funders targeting entrepreneurs as an engine for economic growth and poverty reduction.

Workshop 3: The Missing Middle: Perhaps one of the most pernicious challenges for entrepreneurs is "the missing middle" -- how to finance the transition from successful startup to a thriving and growing job creator.  Financiers and entrepreneurs will discuss tools and strategies to bridge this gap.    

Workshop 4: Intra-Regional Entrepreneurship and Trade: Trade within Africa is estimated at a woeful 15%; similar problems plague the Middle East, Asia, and other regions. The barriers to this trade need to be brought down to drive growth and development. This session will explore what these barriers are, what needs to be done to change these dynamics, and more importantly, the experiences of those who have successfully made the jump across borders.

Challenge Hack 1 (three sessions simultaneously)

The Shared Economy and Emerging Markets: Delegates can expect to participate in a problem solving session on how to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the shared economy (the likes of Uber, AirBnB, Lyft etc)

5:45 p.m.

            Day 1 Programming ends

Day 2 – Sunday, July 26

9:00 -9:10 a.m     

Spark Talk

9:10-10:30 a.m.

Conversation 7: Building a Double Bottom Line: Addressing Global Challenges via Entrepreneurship: This session will explore how entrepreneurs (including NGOs) are building successful business models that not only provide innovative solutions to global ills but also generate sustainable returns on investment.  Investors will discuss the unique challenges for funding these types of enterprises.

Conversation 8: How To ‘Fail Forward’: An essential element to entrepreneurship is embracing the risk of failure and learning from past mistakes.  Entrepreneurs will share their stories of how they overcame the legal, financial, and cultural consequences of failure to move on and build successful enterprises.

Workshops 4 and 5: Specialty Incubators and Innovation Hubs: These simultaneous sessions will explore the ever expanding network of specialty incubators (in fields from agriculture to fashion), innovation hubs, maker spaces and the like, and their role in supporting the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Workshop 6: What Attracts Venture Capital/Private Equity:  Venture capital investments often mark the most mature level of an entrepreneurial enterprise, while private equity investors often seek to nurture, develop, or restructure companies that support their investment strategies.  However, such investors have very stringent requirements regarding past and expected future performance.  Panelists and participants will discuss the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs to attract this specific type of capital.

Challenge Hack 2 (three sessions simultaneously)


Solving (One of) the 8 Challenges of High Impact Entrepreneurship: There are 8 challenges that face high impact entrepreneurs:

1)    Ideas vs execution;

2)    Customer insights - perceived markets vs real markets;

3)    Distribution;

4)    Scale-small scale solutions vs large scale growth;

5)    Financial health;

6)    Effective teams (vs the heropreneur); 

7)    Outcomes (perceived impact vs measurable change);

8)    Cultural context – how to transfer to other countries.

Participants in each of these three simultaneous sessions will select one or more of these challenges to develop innovative solutions.

10:30 – 11:20 a.m.          

Coffee Break and Networking Time

Speed Mentoring: Preparing for Growth

11:20 -11:30 a.m.

Spark Talk

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Conversation 9: Leveraging Technology for Entrepreneurship: This session will be a multifaceted discussion about the role technology can play in catalyzing entrepreneurship and accelerating business growth.  Leading global technology leaders will join African business leaders and emerging entrepreneurs to explore how technologies are disrupting business models and transforming how new businesses emerge, scale, and are able to become global enteprises.  The moderated panel discussion will be followed by a workshop on Payment Platforms.

Conversation 10: Energy for the Bottom of the Pyramid: Opportunities and Innovations: Provision of off-grid energy solutions for the hard-to-reach and under-served populations present a mostly-untapped market as well as a number of opportunities for innovation.  In this workshop, we will discuss existing business models as well as the nature of the market to identify new opportunities “Beyond the Grid.”

Conversation 11: Inspiring the Next Generation of Agricultural Entrepreneurs: This session will be focused on agricultural innovations in: (i) food security and nutrition; (ii) technology including post-harvest losses, pest control, connecting farmers to markets; (iii) financing; and (iv) jobs for young people.  Finally, what are the unique solutions they have arrived at, and how can these solutions be communicated and adapted to inform like-minded entrepreneurs?


Workshop 7: Enabling Scale: Building a Global Health Ecosystem for Impact: Global health entrepreneurs face unique challenges developing, introducing, and scaling innovations. This workshop will explore strategies and business models for successfully developing and delivering products to serve the health needs of the poor and enhancing business growth.  Participants will include growing social enterprises, a multi-national company experienced in scaling, a technology-based innovator and an in-country incubator.


Workshop 8: The Creative Economy: While the creative industries (arts, entertainment, fashion) are attractive to many young people, few understand the business behind these industries and how to tap the creative economy to make them returns. In this session delegates will hear from panelists who are turning the creative arts into sources of revenue, jobs and wealth creation.

Workshop 9: Crowdfunding & Angel Investing: At the earliest stages of development, entrepreneurs are finding new tools to access capital, while investors at all levels are seeking ways to capitalize on the potential success of new and innovative ventures.  Participants will discuss the growing opportunities (and challenges) in this field.

Challenge Hack 3 (three sessions simultaneously)

New and Better Models for Training Entrepreneurs: The world over, entrepreneurs are looked to as the answer to the unemployment challenge, creating wealth for investors, increasing tax receipts for countries, and bringing solutions to critical pressing challenges for the world. However, our current traditional training models are stuck in the 19th Century format of mass production of individuals for factories or jobs. These three simultaneous sessions will bring together thinkers and actors who are on the leading edge of defining what are the skills entrepreneurs need, and subsequently mechanisms/platforms/approaches to building those in the next generation of students.

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.


            Innovation Marketplace open

2:45 – 4:15 p.m.

         GIST Final pitches and award ceremonies

         Speed Mentoring: Overcoming Challenges

Workshop 10: Payment Platforms: Digital payment platforms were revolutionized with the introduction of MPESA. What are the business models that can sit on top of this major innovation? What’s the next evolution of digital payments? Bitcoin?

Workshop 11: Scaling Your Business Operations:  Once a company is growing, the people, operations, and systems that serve it become obsolete.  Entrepreneurs struggle to find the right people at middle management level.  This session will focus on how to grow people and operations at every level of your business' growth.

Workshop 12: Connecting With Your Customer: Your innovative product or service potentially meets the needs of dozens, or perhaps millions, of customers around the world.  In a global economy that is oversaturated with media and messages, how do you find those potential customers -- and help them find you?

4:30 -5:15 pm

Closing Plenary