Exactly a month ago, President(s) Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama co-hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit was held in Sub-Saharan Africa-Nairobi, Kenya highlighting the entrepreneurial dynamism of the continent.
The 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit dubbed GES2015 held on 25-26th July 2015 at the UN compound in Gigiri brought together and converged approximately 2,000 outstanding entrepreneurs, business leaders, innovators and investors from across the world. Their presence and intention to invest in Kenya’s pilot programs, providing emerging entrepreneurs with exceptional networking, insight, and investment opportunities was a sign of confidence in Kenya.
Top of the agenda of the summit was investment in the youth, global co-operation in health, food security and climate change, trade, counterterrorism, energy and power accessibility to all African Nations.
The summit in Nairobi had notable international entrepreneurs, billionaires, U.S. lawmakers, White House officials, American business leaders and investors lead by
Unites States’ 44th President Barack Obama, who elevated entrepreneurship to the forefront of the United States engagement Agenda during a historic speech in Cairo in 2009 . Since 2010, when the United States hosted the first Summit in Washington D.C, GES making them a leader in the catalyzing entrepreneurship on a global stage by developing innovative ecosystems, advocating for stronger business climates through rule of law and transparent business conduct, promoting entrepreneurship for women, youth and marginalized communities and mobilizing the private sector to expand impact.
Billionaire Daymond John the founder and president of FUBU fashion Line and an industry pioneer who has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of generations to one of the most sought after branding expert, business and motivational speaker. Daymonds’ creative vision and strong knowledge of the marketplace helped him create one of the most iconic fashion brands FUBU – For Us By Us and was one of nine business founders of the Shark Tank Series, named as presidential ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship by the White House.
Businessman and Hip Hop artist Akon, the founder of Akon Lighting Africa which seeks to provide a concrete response at grass roots level to Africa’s energy crisis and lay the foundations for future development. As a result of this, a number of households, villages, community houses, schools and health centers located in rural areas have been connected to electricity for the first time ever. The musician and founder of Konvict music has also being part of the airtel sing Africa competition that promotes musical talents from the Kenyan youth.
Notably more international figures present during the summit included Penny Pritzker the United States Secretary of Commerce; Steve Case the Co-founder of AOL; Sir Richard Branson the CEO and founder of Virgin Atlantic and 400-companies Virgin Group; Jacqueline Novogratz the Founder and CEO Acumen; Chris Anderson the Curator, TED Conference and founder of 3D Robotics; Dipender Saluja of Capricorn Investments; Barbara Corcoran – founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, Mark Cuban – owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team; Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Strive Masiyiwa the Zimbabwean Founder and chairman Econet Wireless; Jean Oelwang the CEO Virgin Unite; Zia Khan of Rockefeller Foundation among others.
We had personalities from all sectors of economy well represented from the Head of State to the young aspiring Kenyan Entrepreneur;
The 4th President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta who since he came into power has clearly had interests in the Youth and Women in Kenya. The president encouraged Kenyans to take advantage of the given opportunity that in return is to heighten development and also curb insecurity cases. He also commended the US for involving Kenya in the forum and also stated that Kenya is a hotbed of vibrant culture.
Julie Gichuru, an entrepreneur, an African media personality; founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arimus Media Ltd and Mimi Holdings Ltd. Julie conceptualized and hosts the Africa Leadership Dialogues, a syndicated current affairs program with a focus on African development and growth. In addition, not only did Julie worked with a team at Citizen TV to conceptualize and host the groundbreaking news show Sunday Live with Julie Gichuru but also has a foundation called The Footprints Africa Foundation which helps to empower and grow healthy, dignified and informed societies in the region. Apart from all these achievements, Julie got alot of recognition from being the one who opened up the GES by welcoming both Barack Obama and Uhuru Kenyatta to the forum by an african traditional way.
Women in power were once a rare phenomenon, but recent years have seen a twist in the trends. Having been among the Top 40 under 40 women, and going ahead to score lucrative jobs in the public service, Anne Waiguru has steadily proven that Kenyan women have the chance to bring about positive change. Speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2015.,devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru has said that Kenya is posed for economic success after hosting Speaking during the summit’s closing ceremony, Waiguru said that despite a global economic slow-down, economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and the East African Community (EAC) has remained robust with an expanding GDP. She pointed out that Kenya’s economy is on the rise, saying Bloomberg’s report, which ranks it as the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world, is an indication of that Africa is rising and Kenya is rising with it.
More delegates from Kenya included
While all these personalities were in town for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, budding entrepreneurs to learnt some lessons which I have shared below;
- Africa is the Next Big Thing
As the founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, Ashish J. Thakkar put it, “Africa has the opportunity to leap forward and take African innovation globally.” This was seconded by President Uhuru Kenyatta who said, “Africa is the World’s newest and most promising frontier of limitless opportunity” and President Barrack Obama who said, “I want to be here because Africa is on the move. Growth is good for all us. Kenya is leading the way!”
- Strive with Passion
Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of Econet Wireless put it thus, “Just add a little innovation and a lot of passion at what you do best” while Monica Musonda, the CEO of Java Foods said, “Understand the market and be passionate at what you are doing.” It is passion that will make you go on when things are tough. Eric Kinoti, founder and director of Shade Systems East African Limited said, “As an entrepreneur, you need to keep focussing on your goals. Every morning when you plan your day, make sure your eyes and mind are set on your goals.”
- It’s your role as an Entrepreneur to get training and Believe in Yourself
Daymond John put it so well, “As an entrepreneur, you never stop learning.”
Someone said, “If you do not believe in yourself, no one will.”
- Get more people to know about your products
Franklin Leonard, the CEO and founder of The Blacklist (a company that links movie makers with screenplays) said, “You have to work hard, for example, go through 500 bloggers to promote your product.”
- Failure is not necessarily a bad thing
Chef Jose Andres said that we should “Be happy when you fail because it gives you important tools to use later.” Failure makes one to be careful not to repeat the same mistake in the next venture.
Daymond added, “The more times one has failed and is still kicking, the more they understand what they want and how to avoid mistakes in the future.”
The coming Global Entrepreneurship Summit gave Kenyans an advantage over other countries as the Kenyan populace got to interact with the investors and entrepreneurs who were in Kenya and pitched to them raw ideas as well as ready executed ideas that are on the verge to change the development direction of the country.
- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced the U.S. president describing Barrack Obama as a great friend to the African continent; whose opening remarks were “It is wonderful to be back in Kenya, I am proud to be the first U.S. president to visit Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa.”
- Obama Came to Kenya and announced $1B approximately KSh 100 billion support for Entrepreneurs in Kenya, Zambia and Mali.
- President Obama noted that Africa is one of the fastest growing continents in the world where people are being lifted out of poverty and the middle class is expanding and argued that “This continent – Africa, needs to be a future hub of global growth, not just African growth,”
Obama met with Kenyatta for talks at Nairobi State House with top agendas being;
- Building strong trade ties between Kenya and U.S.,
- Financing Entrepreneurship project mechanisms,
- Countering violent extremism in Kenya and across the region,
- Boosting government transparency,
- Curbing the poaching of Kenya’s wildlife.
While much of the visit was focused on boosting trade, the other big issue on the agenda was security when Obama met President Kenyatta though Kenya has been able to enhance security in the last few years when the country has been faced with terror threats such as being targeted repeatedly by the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab.
Special Thanks To
Moreover, the GES would not have been complete missing a photo-journalist and a storyteller through imagery, without the accredited professional photography services of David Macharia . He is a commercial photographer, specializing in people and corporate photography with a style consisting of colorful and energetic imagery. the founder and director at Versatile Photographers Ltd, which was founded in the year 2007 when he put together a number of photographers to create what is now Versatile Photographers Ltd . Currently, he is working on Africa Stock Image that is being used to bring impact in the advertising world to corporate and social life that can be purchased and delivered online. Moreover, recently started Versatile School of Photography to train young and upcoming photographers and videographers get photographic education that is practical, hands-on and commercial studios as well as wedding photography. We built our course around the simple concept of experimental learning. David believes that great creativity often is the result of team effort, values working closely with clients and most importantly professionalism.