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Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015: Where Creativity, Business, and Social Progression Collide

July 13, 2015
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES and/or Summit) is an annual event that was first held on April 27th, 2010, in Washington, D.C. The 2010 GES was the physical culmination of President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo, where he vowed to focus on entrepreneurship opportunities both at home and around the world. [1] This event is meant to be a forum for entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders from all over the world to come together, promote their businesses, network with one another, learn from the mistakes and successes of others, and, be inspired by the amazing projects and stories of their peers. In addition, it is meant to serve as a forum where entrepreneurs can pitch ideas to investors in an effort to expand their business.

By Courtney Sloan, C’17

Overall, the GES brings together the most brilliant business leaders from all over the world in order to create a three-day summit that fosters a sense of global unity by focusing on entrepreneurship as a means of effecting positive change throughout their particular communities and around the world. This year, the 6th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit will take place in Nairobi, Kenya from July 25-26.

GES – Youth and Women’s Day

I worked with the team that organized Youth and Women’s Day, the opening day of the Summit. It focuses on bringing together women and young men entrepreneurs who would likely benefit from a smaller scale event that allows for more intimate interactions with other entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders. All participants involved in Youth and Women’s Day also attend the larger GES summit which takes place during the following two days. My supervisors allowed me to have a hands-on role in selecting the delegates who would attend Youth and Women’s Day. My coworker and I were responsible for evaluating entrepreneurs’ biographies and identifying those who would be a good fit for the Summit. While selecting delegates, we sought to ensure that we had a diverse group of delegates who came from different parts of the world, had businesses in different sectors, and varied in age and experience. This focus on diversity recognizes that we often learn the most from people whose life experiences and career paths are different from ours. In addition, we made sure that all types of businesses and entrepreneurs were represented at the Summit to ensure that we captured a global perspective.

I underestimated the time and effort required to create a final list of selected delegates. Quickly, I realized that when planning a large scale event, there are hundreds of spreadsheet drafts, meetings, emails, and phone calls that must take place before anything is finalized. During this process, I realized the importance of teamwork.  We had to work with different people and many government bureaus in order to create a list of delegates acceptable to the various interested parties. While working to complete the list of GES participants, I learned that teamwork, patience, and flexibility are necessary facets in planning any large scale event.

After the list was set, we began contacting the delegates directly to congratulate them on their acceptance and to advise them on the next steps of the process. This was the fun part because each delegate received a personalized letter from the White House, inviting them to attend the event. As I sent emails to delegates, with their White House invitations attached, I began to realize that I was playing an important role in the execution of this event. I take pride in my contribution to Youth and Women’s Day and I am eternally grateful to my supervisors who gave me a large role in the coordination of a very important event.

Why it matters

The best part about participating in the planning of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit was the satisfaction of knowing that I was an integral part of an important event that works to effect positive change globally, by inspiring and funding entrepreneurs who are looking to improve our world. Social entrepreneurship is a very unique mechanism because it fuses creativity, business, and social change. Therefore, I feel that it has been an honor to work on a project that brings together people from all over the world for an event that allows everyone to forget about regional, ethnic, or religious conflicts, and instead focus on the betterment of their businesses and the advancement of their communities and the world. The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is an incredible event that inspires, uplifts, and motivates all who attend as well as the global community. Therefore, I am very thankful to have worked on such a meaningful project, and I hope that I am able to continue working on important projects that positively impact my community and the world. 

Endnotes:

  [1]  A New Beginning: Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. The White House: Office of Press Secretary. http://www.ges2015.org/press-releases/2015/5/7/remarks-by-the-president-on-a-new-beginning

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