PRINCE – 6th GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT: GES – 2015 Nairobi, Kenya (with President Obama)
6th GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT: GES – 2015 Nairobi, Kenya (with President Obama)
By: Prince Nwankwo (YALI Ambassador & Green Champion)
Lecturer: Department of Computer Engineering (Federal Polytechnic, Oko – Anambra state, Nigeria)
CEO: Prince Tech Global Ventures Ltd
Founder: Prince Technology and Community Development Foundation
Prince: One of the Nigerian Representatives in 6th Global Entrepreneurship Submit, Kenya (with President Barack Obama)
Prince Nwankwo was nominated by U.S embassy Abuja as one of the delegates that represented Nigeria in the prestigious Global Entrepreneurship Summit (for youth + women) and 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (for entrepreneurs/inventors) in Nairobi, Kenya 2015 (with President Obama) – I am grateful to U.S government for that mouth-watering opportunity!
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. Since 2010, when the U.S. hosted the first Summit in Washington, D.C., GES has expanded to a global event, subsequently hosted by the governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Morocco. The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 25-26. It is the sixth annual gathering of entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors, and high-level government officials. The established tradition demonstrates the U.S. Government’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship around the world. Over 500 entrepreneurs from over 80 countries (of the world) were in Nairobi, Kenya to represent their countries in the prestigious 6th GES – 2015.
GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT (GES) YOUTH + WOMEN 2015
Before the official start of the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), over 150 young and women entrepreneurs came together from over 80 countries of the world (24th July, 2015) 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.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE 6th GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT (GES – 15)
United Nations Compound, Nairobi, Kenya!
Read and be Inspired!
Thank you. (Applause) Thank you so much. Please, please, everybody have a seat. Good morning!
AUDIENCE: Good morning!
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Tanga jumbo.
Thank you so much, President Kenyatta, for your timely remarks, your warm welcome, and the great work that has gone into hosting this summit. It is wonderful to be back in Kenya. (Applause) Niaje wasee! (Applause) Hawayuni! (Applause and laughter) I am proud to be the first U.S. President to visit Kenya. (Applause) and this is personal for me. There is a reason why my name is Barack Hussein Obama. (Applause) My father came from these parts, and I have family and relatives here. And in my visits over the years, walking the streets of Nairobi, I have come to know the warmth and the spirit of the Kenyan people.
Now, what President Kenyatta and I really want to have is a conversation with our panel. And we’ve got some outstanding young people here today who I think represent the promise of entrepreneurship not only in Africa but around the world. But I do want to make just a few quick points.
We are joined today by inspiring entrepreneurs from more than 120 countries (applause) — and many from across Africa. And all of you embody a spirit that we need to take on some of the biggest challenges that we face in the world — the spirit of entrepreneurship, the idea that there are no limits to the human imagination; that ingenuity can overcome what is and create what needs to be.
And everywhere I go, across the United States and around the world, I hear from people, but especially young people, who are ready to start something of their own- to lift up people’s lives and shape their own destinies. And that is entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world — it is 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.
Entrepreneurship means ownership and self-determination, as opposed to simply being dependent on somebody else for your livelihood and your future. Entrepreneurship brings down barriers between communities and cultures and builds bridges that help us take on common challenges together. Because one thing that entrepreneurs understand is, that you don’t have to look a certain way, or be of a certain faith, or have a certain last name in order to have a good idea. The challenge is — as so many of you know — it’s very often hard to take those first steps. It is hard to access capital. It is hard sometimes to get the training and the skills to run a business as professionally as it needs to be in this competitive world. It is hard to tap into the networks and mentors that can mean the difference between a venture taking off and one that falls flat.
And it’s even harder for women and young people and communities that have often been marginalized and denied access to opportunities. You run into old attitudes that say some people, because of where you come from or what you look like, don’t have what it takes to lead or create a business. And sometimes it’s subtle. You go into pitch an idea and maybe the response you get might not be as enthusiastic as if someone else pitched the exact same idea. Sometimes women or folks from communities that historically have not been viewed as entrepreneurial may not have the means of opening those doors just to get in front of the right person.
Of course, the best answer to that kind of thinking is the example that all of you are setting — your success. And that is why I have made encouraging this spirit of entrepreneurship a key part of America’s engagement in the world. I launched the first of these summits in Washington five years ago. And since then, we have helped empower hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, giving them a boost to launch thousands of new businesses and initiatives. Here in Africa, our Young African Leaders Initiative is empowering tens of thousands of dynamic leaders not only in business, but also in government and civil society. Because one of the things that we have come to understand — and this is particularly relevant to Africa — is that in order to create successful entrepreneurs, the government also has a role in creating the transparency, and the rule of law, and the ease of doing business, and the anti-corruption agenda that creates a platform for people to succeed.
So this is our first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in sub-Saharan Africa. We wanted to come here. I wanted to be here because Africa is on the move. (Applause) Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions of the world. People are being lifted out of poverty. Incomes are up. The middle class is growing. And young people like you are harnessing technology to change the way Africa is doing business, as President Kenyatta alluded to. And that creates incredible opportunities for Africans and for the world. It means more growth and trade that creates jobs in all our countries. It’s good for all of us. This continent needs to be a future hub of global growth, not just African growth. (Applause)
And the country that’s hosting us today is setting an important example — Kenya is leading the way. (Applause) Today, Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa. High-speed broadband and mobile connectivity are on the rise, unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of even more Kenyans. Every day around the world, millions of people send and save money with M-Pesa — and it’s a great idea that started here in Kenya (Applause).
From Zimbabwe to Bangladesh, citizens work to keep elections safe, using the crowd – sourcing platform Ushahidi — and that is a great idea that started right here in Kenya (Applause). Here in Nairobi, start-up incubators are nurturing new businesses every day — maybe some of yours — each with the potential to be the great next Kenyan innovation.
And the good news is that I am not the only one who sees the promise of Africa. I am joined on this trip by some leaders not just across my administration, but I’m also joined by 20 members of the United States Congress from both parties — because supporting a strong partnership with Africa is something that unites Americans. (Applause) we’ve got some incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are well-established from the United States who are with us. They see the promise, as well. And they are putting their money where their mouth is.
So today, we are taking the next steps to partner with you. First, we are offering entrepreneurs more start-up capital. At last year’s Entrepreneurship Summit, we set a goal of generating $1 billion in new investment for emerging entrepreneurs around the world, with half the money going to support women and young people (Applause) A few months ago, I challenged governments, companies, organizations and individuals to help us reach this target. Today, I am proud to announce that not only did we make our goal; we surpassed it (Applause). We’ve secured more than $1 billion in new commitments from banks, foundations, philanthropists, all to support entrepreneurs like you.
Second, we are connecting you with the world’s top business leaders and innovators. We hand-picked more than 200 seasoned investors and entrepreneurs and brought them to this summit. I have even brought a few of my presidential ambassadors for entrepreneurship. These are some of America’s leading innovators and entrepreneurs. So if you see them, don’t be shy (Laughter) Pin them down. Get their advice. Pitch them your idea. That is why they are here. And don’t be discouraged if they say, I’m not sure that’s going to work, and they ask you tough questions. Because one of the things every one of these successful entrepreneurs will tell you is that along with incredible successes, they have had some failures as well, and they have learned from them, but they haven’t given up.
Number three, as I have said, we are stepping it up to support women entrepreneurs. Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs (Applause) the research shows that when women entrepreneurs succeed, they drive economic growth and invest more back into their families and communities (Applause). We’ve already helped build a network of more than 1,600 women entrepreneurs across Africa. We are launching three women’s entrepreneurial centres — one in Zambia, one opening later this year here in Nairobi — (Applause) — and I am proud to announce that the third centre will be located in Mali (Applause). We’ve got some folks from Mali in the house (Laughter).
And as part of that $1 billion that I mentioned earlier, the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation is contributing $100 million to support Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative, making more capital available to women-owned enterprises around the world (Applause) So, congratulations.
So as you leave here today, I want you all to know that I believe in you. I believe that you have the drive and the passion to change the world. You can unlock new solutions to the pressing global challenges that we face. I believe that. I believe that as you make these innovations, you will make life better for all of us. And I’m looking forward to being your partner in that process.
LESSONS FROM GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT (GES – 2015)
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya just came to a conclusion and for the keen follower of the summit; it leaves a bunch of lessons on entrepreneurship in its wake. The GES 2015 Summit saw the gathering of entrepreneurs who were open for investment, mentorship, and business development. It particularly focused on the youth where it sought to support start-ups and forge a way forward for small businesses to thrive with the aid of key government officials. Some of the prominent lessons that I take from the GES summit include:
Grants: While one of the panellists discussing entrepreneurship challenges discouraged people from using the word ‘grant’ but to use the word ‘investment’ instead, it was a consensual agreement across the board that every entrepreneur should take advantage of grants. The less you can spend while starting out, the better for you. Before accepting a grant, it was stressed that it is important to have an elaborate plan on how the money will be allocated to your business to make sure that the money is put into good use. Ask yourself, if you were the person giving out the grant, would you be willing to invest in the business?
It is important that you get someone who is in business to weigh in on your decisions. Learning from the people who’ve been in the business will help you anticipate challenges and know how to go about facing those challenges.
Entrepreneurship is not an individual enterprise:
You don’t need to do everything. When your business is still young, you might have to wear many hats because of the financial instability of the business. But once it grows, you have to take off some of the hats and assign them to people you know can add value to your business. A business does not stand alone; it is influenced by consumers and by government and one must learn to work together with these entities.
Failure is part of entrepreneurship:
Every business-minded individual who had felt discouraged was glad to hear this sentiment repeated by almost all the (very) successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is in fact, a series of failures. Expect to fail and from the failure, learn. The more you fail, the more you learn and the more your chances of success.
Passion will take you the extra mile:
Passion for what you do is what will keep you in the business. It is what will make you try again and again after every failure. You are likely to do well if you pursue a business that you are passionate about.
Invest in something that will serve a large population:
This is all logic: You are likely to succeed if you invest in something that will serve say 70-80% of the population, as opposed to a product that will only benefit 5% of the population. It is crucial that you find out what a majority of people need.
Understand your target audience:
Research widely on your target audience since what you believe is a consumer need is not always true. You have to fully understand your target audience in order to understand their needs. You have to get into their space and understand their thinking in order to be able to produce something that will be beneficial to them.
Contact Nwankwo Prince on:
E – mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The journey remains forward!