The Road to Entrepreneurship, from Cairo to Silicon Valley

President Obama is in Silicon Valley this week to speak at the final Global Entrepreneurship Summit of his presidency. Since the Cairo speech in 2009, these summits have been held around the world, throughout his administration to promote entrepreneurship on a new and global scale. We focus on this last summit in Silicon Valley to see how it is empowering women and youth in entrepreneurial and innovative activities. — Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President, Programs

“We Believe in the Power of Entrepreneurship — Why the President is Bringing the World’s Entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley”
by Valerie Jarrett, Megan Smith, and Courtney Beale, Global Entrepreneurship Summit, March 17, 2016

The Obama presidency has hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco, and Kenya and now in the hub of US innovation, Silicon Valley. The focus is on inclusion of women and other marginalized groups on a local and global scale. In order to meet the challenges that will be faced in the upcoming years, we must utilize everyone’s talents. There will be entrepreneurs 35 and under from each sector and region, 100 from the US alone. To Obama, opportunity is synonymous with democracy; if we connect and enable talented individuals they will take and spread their success, a bottom up approach to democratization.

“Tackling Global Woes by Empowering Young Entrepreneurs”
by Robert Kennedy, Al Jazeera, June 22, 2016

Richard Stengel, US State Department’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, sat down at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Palo Alto to answer questions about the intended impact of the gathering. The Global Entrepreneurship Summit, the brainchild of the Obama Presidency, aims to connect angel investors with around 700 up and coming entrepreneurs from around the globe. The US has been criticized for not doing more with its role as a global power, namely in the Middle East. Stengel insisted the US has an important role to play in the supporting universal rights like suffrage, religious freedom, and the freedom to have your own opinion. GES is a way of using the US’s soft power to spur positive change globally.

“ Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 seeks to Empower Women and Youth”
by Fangzhou Liu , The Stanford Daily, June 23, 2016

Stanford University is hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit with an emphasis on equal representation, specifically women and youth. The Summit has the goal of using entrepreneurship as a form of international development and a way of empowering people to help themselves. Speakers focused on using the small to mid size business sector to create jobs, take some of the weight off of NGOs and stop relying on free markets to create social change. Instead, focus on investing in those businesses’ which support local community, create jobs, and bring women and youth into the economy.

“ Silicon Valley: Invest in Africa, But Do It Differently”
by Lexi Novitske, Global Entrepreneurship Summit, June 06, 2016

Africa presents an opportunity for investors who approach the continent with a geographically specific model. Many countries are lacking access to capital and infrastructure. High level talent is also hard to come by. While the capital is readily available in Silicon Valley, to have an impact and be successful in the wide open and growing business sector in Africa, they should invest in industries that bolster the infrastructure and help make the workforce successful. It would be wise for investors to set benchmarks and oversee their investments, instead of the Silicon Valley model of peppering investments and hoping one takes off. It would also be wise to partner with local investors and business people to bridge the cultural divides.

What’s in the News — A weekly selection of topics, and perspectives on world issues from the programs team at the World Affairs Council.

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