PAUSE: The Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in Nairobi

PAUSE: The Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in Nairobi

I need to pause the series ‪#‎AfricanLionessRoar‬ for a week to enable me to report on one of the most important developments for entrepreneurs this year:

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which is being held in Kenya (‪#‎GES2015KENYA‬)

Some of you may already have heard of this important event, which is also being attended by U.S. President Barrack Obama.

As I have said before, if you are an entrepreneur or desire to be an entrepreneur one of the most important skills you need is the ability to “network” with other entrepreneurs, financiers, investors, business leaders, policy makers and civil society leaders. This you can do by attending such gatherings, whether they are local, national or international.

This is part of “investing” in your own success: You need to listen to others, and also exchange ideas.

When you are not able to attend such gatherings for whatever reason including financial, then follow the event using social media, and Youtube.

GES is one of the most important events for entrepreneurs that takes place anywhere in the world. The Summit was started by President Obama in 2009 to foster entrepreneurship and it has been hosted every year in different countries, such as Turkey, the US, Malaysia etc. This year it is in Kenya – the first time it’s taking place in Sub-Saharan Africa.

There are thousands of delegates that have arrived here in Nairobi, and most of them are young business and social entrepreneurs, and virtually every African country is well represented, as well as Europe, Asia, the U.S., Latin America, and the Middle East. I have never seen anything like it, and it has not even started. It feels like going to the Olympic Games!


Following my arrival in Nairobi on Thursday afternoon, I immediately went to speak at an event organised by the Case Foundation, called “Unleashing Entrepreneurship”. Although not part of the main event of GES, it is one of many events leading up to the opening of GES on Saturday.

I shared a panel discussion with Jean and Steve Case, the founders of America Online (AOL) – one of the great businesses that developed the early phase of the Internet industry, and became a multi-billion dollar business.

Jean and Steve are passionate philanthropists who dedicate their time and considerable fortune helping your entrepreneurs around the world. They are passionate about Africa.

# we discussed the challenges of helping young entrepreneurs get capital for their projects.

# we urged banks to change the way they approach lending, so they can accommodate the needs of young entrepreneurs.

# we called for the development of venture capitalists to set up special funds to help early stage entrepreneurs.

# we called on governments to do more to recognise the role of women entrepreneurs across Africa.

# we called on governments to ensure that traditions, and legal barriers that prevent women from accumulating wealth be dismantled immediately.

# we must not treat women in the small enterprise sector (including smallholder farmers) as though they are invisible. We must empower them with resources and training, and we must treat their activities with respect. We must also recognise that they contribute far much more to economic activity and employment creation than is often acknowledged.

After the discussion I had an opportunity to mingle with many of Africa’s leading young entrepreneurs. It is mind blowing to hear the things they are doing! …If you are not here this time, please, please try and come to such events next time.

The organisers of GES itself have been very kind to give me a platform on some of the main plenary sessions. I’m particularly excited about a keynote event on Saturday on ‘Financing Entrepreneurship’, where I’ll be joined by Ashish Thakkar (Mara Group), Loretta McCarthy (Golden Seeds), Julie Hanna (Kiva) and Mindy Silverstein (Milken Institute).

To be continued…

There are three more #AfricanLionessRoar posts to come.

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

10 Replies to “PAUSE: The Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in Nairobi”

  1. Afterthought 1.

    I don’t really do Twitter that much, but I know many people tweet and retweet what I say.

    The things I say on Facebook are also available on my blog (, and also on Yookos, the Christian Social media network. If you see any Facebook or Twitter page that does not have the Facebook or Twitter public figure notification (a blue tic sign), it’s the work of a rascal who deserves your pity.

  2. The visual, which was released by the Kenyan government, is from our visit to Kenya two weeks ago. I was accompanied then by a group of global philanthropists, who included Sir Richard Branson the founder of Virgin. The group was on a fact finding mission to assess the readiness of young African entrepreneurs to receive investment support for their ventures in Renewable energy. I will update you in due course about the progress.

    1. During our trip we did not just visit the head of state of the country. We travelled deep into the countryside (rural areas) and met people who use solar power solutions, as well as entrepreneurs who are trying to help them. Some of the journeys we undertook we used helicopters, and 4 hour bus journeys, because they were so remote.
      Those young entrepreneurs were just amazingly innovative, and they will receive a lot of support. One young entrepreneurs has already secured $60m for his solar project in Tanzania and Rwanda.
      Some of the investors that were in the group have experience in funding small companies and turning them into giants like Apple, Solar City in America, Tesla, and others. They don’t have to invest in Africa, they could just as easily stay at home or invest in India or Latin America.

  3. Thanks sir for all your insightful teachings, it has really helped me as a Social Entrepreneur.

    Thanks for discussing issues relating to women

    ( we must not treat women in the small enterprise sector (including smallholder farmers) as though they are invisible. We must empower them with resources and training, and we must treat their activities with respect. We must also recognise that they contribute far much more to economic activity and employment creation than is often acknowledged.)

    because this is an issue I am passionate about and the reason I started my Social Enterprise.

    I will definitely follow the program online and via Social Media.

    I look forward to your session on financing Entrepreneurship.

  4. Am always blessed by your posts Sir. The world needs more of people like you. Am proud that Kenya is hosting this great event. As a fast follower entrepreneur i will be following what is happening on the social media and youtube. Thank you and Karibu Kenya

  5. thank you very much sir. for assisting young entrepreneurs like me. as a Zimbabwean am so proud to hear from you my fellow Zimbabwean, sharing business ideas on a global village platform . . i wish to be part and puzzle of that meeting one.

    i know the sky is the limit

    kind regards

    mike ngozi. 0778200315

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Twitter Feed