Secretary Pritzker Celebrates Female Entrepreneurs during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day


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Secretary Pritzker Celebrates Female Entrepreneurs during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker celebrated Women’s Entrepreneurship Day this week as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Marrakesh, Morocco. Secretary Pritzker helped lead the U.S. delegation to the Summit to demonstrate the U.S. government’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship around the world. More than 3,000 entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors and high-level government officials gathered for the 5th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. 

At last year’s GES in Malaysia, President Obama asked Secretary Pritzker to chair the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, and she convened the first-ever meeting of that group this past April. PAGE is made up of 11 well-known American entrepreneurs who are dedicating their time and resources to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad. Three PAGE members joined the Secretary at this year’s GES, including Alexa von Tobel, Founder and CEO of Learnvest, Daphne Koller, Co-Founder and President of Coursera, and Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEOS of Chobani.  

In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Secretary Pritzker delivered the keynote address to approximately 300 women entrepreneurs. She discussed America’s leadership in empowering entrepreneurs at home and abroad and touted how a strong entrepreneurial society can lead to greater economic growth, stability and security, and a rising middle class. During her remarks, she also addressed the challenges that face women entrepreneurs today including lack of access to capital, training in vocational and technical skills, and access to information and technology. Structural obstacles also create enormous difficulties for women and men who want to grow a new business and Secretary Pritzker highlighted some of those obstacles. Secretary Pritzker discussed how female entrepreneurs all over the world need a change in culture to support their work. She expressed that countries need a strong educational system that produces students able to think broadly and creatively, and to accept and take risks while also stressing that countries need to have laws that make it easy for innovators to both start a company and wind it down. 

During her first day in Morocco, the Secretary also spoke with representatives from 80 American Chambers of Commerce headquartered throughout Africa, who were also gathered in Marrakesh for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She discussed the Department’s Doing Business in Africa campaign, designed to leverage the power of the U.S. business community in Africa and encouraged U.S. trade promotion and investment to all regions of Africa. 

Since this summer’s U.S. Africa Business Forum, Secretary Pritzker announced the 15 private sector members of the President’s Council on Doing Business in Africa, which she chairs. As the council begins its work, the Commerce Department has already started to extend its reach in key African markets. The Department has announced it will double the number of Foreign Commercial Service offices on the continent and return a Foreign Commercial Service Officer to the African Development Bank for the first time in 3 years. This will help take U.S.-Africa business relations even further.  

Secretary Pritzker also met with women entrepreneurs from throughout the Middle East and North Africa region to discuss issues that women entrepreneurs face and gave them advice on how they can overcome obstacles to success.  

Dr. Jill Biden also co-hosted a reception honoring the women of the Summit with Secretary Pritzker, Administrator of the United States Small Business Administration Maria Contreras-Sweet, and Ambassador Catherine Russell.  

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day focused on urging women entrepreneurs to mentor and advise their peers, share best practices with one another, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in their home communities and countries. Entrepreneurship is critical to economic growth, and advancing long-term political stability, broadly-shared prosperity, and effective democratic reform.

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Last updated: 2016-09-20 16:24

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