, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – This week, Kenya will be the centre of attraction across the globe as the country hosts the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).
United States President Barack Obama is expected to attend the event scheduled between July 25 and 26.
But what exactly is GES all about?
According to the US Department of State, during his “A New Beginning” speech in Cairo in 2009, President Obama announced that the US will host a summit on entrepreneurship to identify how to deepen ties between business leaders, foundations, and entrepreneurs in the US and Muslim communities around the world.
Since 2010, when the US hosted the first summit in Washington DC, GES has expanded to a global event, subsequently hosted by the governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Morocco.
The annual gathering brings together entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors, and high-level government officials.
The summit has in the past six years pledged billions of dollars to young entrepreneurs around the world.
Through the summit, the US Administration has invested in over 1,000 initiatives and programs promoting entrepreneurship around the world, many of which are focused on generating opportunities for women and youth and increasing access to capital for entrepreneurs.
The summit will be a space for entrepreneurs to network one-on-one with each other and with established businesses, and it will provide a chance to hear from those who have travelled the path before them.
High-level speakers from around the world will discuss issues and insights to inspire, celebrate, and support entrepreneurs, including financing new ventures, scaling up enterprises and moving to the formal sector and engaging in social entrepreneurship.
Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed says President Obama’s visit to Kenya is expected to open the floodgates to American investments to the East African region.
Mohammed says like other countries that have hosted GES, Kenya expects major gains especially for entrepreneurs through investment, awareness and mentoring.
“In the 2014 summit, over $4 billion was pledged, to help upcoming entrepreneurs, with the hosts getting a fair share of this. The summit is expected to significantly spark investment and entrepreneurship in Kenya as it has done in its previous editions,” he added.
Even with the expected gains during the summit, Cytonn Investment CEO Edwin Dande says Kenya should focus on what will happen after the summit.
READ: It matters what happens after Obama summit – Cytonn
“For Kenya, fortunately the country already has an entrepreneurial spirit and culture. But the most effective area for government and policy makers is to later put more efforts into breaking barriers to entrepreneurship in Kenya,” Dande said.
“Getting the whole world focus on Kenya is not a small thing. Furthermore the focus will not be on the bad things that make people talk about us like when there are disasters, but we will be on the spotlight for the right reason. I mean that is not a small thing,” says Dr Chris Kirubi who is among entrepreneurs and Kenyans at large looking forward to the summit.