The just concluded 6th Annual Global Entrepreneurship summit co-hosted by Kenya and the United States of America brought together national leaders, business development experts, established entrepreneurs and innovators from all around the world. It was indeed a meeting of great minds which portrayed Kenya as not just a hub for investment and commerce but a country where great innovations are birthed.
The summit which also saw America committing to various social entrepreneurial initiatives as well as the promotion of economic growth could not have come at a better time for Africa because the African continent is presently witnessing a surge in innovations from the agricultural and technological sectors. Via this summit, local entrepreneurs and young social innovators were connected to over 1,000 established entrepreneurs, industry experts and venture capitalists from all around the globe who came to sample the opportunities Kenya had to offer and also helped to spur local investors to seek for home grown innovative projects to invest in.
It was indeed a memorable week for the youth and women in Kenya as various foundations, banks and the U.S government made financial contributions to the growth of small and medium scale enterprises with over half of these funds going to various women and youth empowerment initiatives. It also witnessed the U.S government pledging to establish three global women entrepreneurship centres in Kenya, Mali and Zambia. Speaking at the conference, President Obama also announced that the U.S government had contributed $1 billion dollars to support these centres. Reiterating on the need to empower women the U.S President says
“Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs. The research shows that women are entrepreneurs and they succeed, they drive economic growth and they invest more back in their families and communities,”
It was a dream-come-true for young entrepreneurs in Africa as the summit availed them the opportunity to learn about responding to the needs of the industry and to also align themselves with the right kind of financing. Startups were able to get the funding they needed and for once, they did not have to travel overseas to seek sponsorships for their ideas; the investors came right up to their doorstep. Most of all, African venture capitalists were sensitized to see and recognize opportunities for investments at their own backyard.