Statement by the Press Secretary on the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the President’s Travel to Africa

The Government of Kenya has agreed to co-host the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) this July.  Organized annually since 2009, the GES has emerged as a global platform connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations, and governments looking to support them.  This will be the first time the GES will take place in sub-Saharan Africa.

President Obama will travel to Kenya in July, where he will hold bilateral meetings and participate in the GES.  His trip will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and continue our efforts to work with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.  This will be President Obama’s fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his presidency.

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

GES is an annual summit bringing together entrepreneurs – including social entrepreneurs — business people, venture capitalists and foundations for an intense two-day conference to network, learn from each other, and identify ways to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  GES is a White House initiative that partners with a different host country each year to showcase the dynamism of the local environment and hopefully strengthen entrepreneurial infrastructure.

Last year’s U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit advanced the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlighted America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people. The theme of the Summit was “Investing in the Next Generation,” and leveraging entrepreneurship throughout the continent is a direct outgrowth of this longstanding support to Africa’s next generation of leaders.  During the Leaders’ Summit, the President committed to holding the 6th annual GES in sub-Saharan Africa.  Kenya’s selection as the location for this year’s Summit highlights the country’s role as an economic leader in East Africa and the dynamism and innovation that characterizes Kenya’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

We expect members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) network and from the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) to be well represented at GES Nairobi, as well as those from other USG women and youth initiatives.

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The Spark Global Entrepreneurship Initiative

“Spark” is a common symbol and platform for connecting diverse programs working to promote entrepreneurship around the world.  The programs selected to the President’s Spark initiative represent the best work being done by the U.S. Government to advance entrepreneurship around the world. They commit to generate at least $10 million dollars over three years for emerging entrepreneurs, with more than half raised by women and young entrepreneurs. The initial commitments toward this goal totaled over $1 billion dollars that would be generated by the end of 2017. Top entrepreneurship organizations will announce the formation of the Spark coalition in the coming months and have opened a social media conversation about expanding entrepreneurship with #StarttheSpark.

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