U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Champions Global Innovators at 5th Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Morocco

PAGE Members Announce New Initiatives to Spur Entrepreneurship Worldwide


Thursday, November 20, 2014
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) this week in Marrakech, Morocco, which brought together more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, businesses, government and thought leaders. As the Administration’s point person on entrepreneurship, Secretary Pritzker helped lead a U.S. delegation to the Summit with Vice President Joe Biden, demonstrating the U.S. government’s continued commitment to fostering a culture of innovation around the world. Three members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship initiative also joined Secretary Pritzker in Morocco – Daphne Koller, cofounder and president of Coursera, Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani, and Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.
“Entrepreneurship is one of America’s greatest exports. The United States does not just respect and admire entrepreneurs – we celebrate them,” Secretary Pritzker said.
For the first time, the Summit dedicated a day to the specific challenges and opportunities relevant to women entrepreneurs. Secretary Pritzker keynoted Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, urging approximately 300 women entrepreneurs to mentor and advise their peers, share best practices with one another, and inspire the next generation of innovators in their home communities and countries. She outlined the key ingredients needed to encourage more women and more young people to turn their ideas and inventions into thriving businesses.
“When women entrepreneurs take risks and succeed, societies change for the better. Expectations change, not only for other women, but for men and children, too. It becomes easier to accept the idea of a woman as a family’s breadwinner, the head of a household, a community leader, or a head of state,” Secretary Pritzker said.
Among her many activities at the Summit, Secretary Pritzker met with seven female finalists for the Tech-I pitch competition hosted by the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative. Led by the U.S. State Department, GIST seeks to strengthen economies by empowering young innovators around the world, and has helped young scientists from throughout the Muslim world generate more than $80 million in revenue for their companies.
Secretary Pritzker also held roundtables with about 40 young entrepreneurs from around the world, as well as women entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to discuss how they can overcome obstacles to success. Moreover, she met with three officials from the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology to discuss the technical assistance they are receiving from the Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program. They discussed issues related to technology commercialization, intellectual property, and the government’s support of innovation and entrepreneurship. 
Secretary Pritzker also toured the Innovation Village, a meeting place and a showcase for young Moroccan and African entrepreneurs. She learned more about startups and global organizations that support entrepreneurs from the MENA region.
Building on a year of successful engagements with entrepreneurs across four continents, in locations including Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Poland, the Philippines, Mexico, South Korea, and Ghana, Secretary Pritzker announced plans to expand the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative. The first 11 members of PAGE were announced in April and have been actively promoting innovation across the United States and the world. PAGE member Steve Case led a “Rise of the Rest” road tour this spring, making stops in nine different cities and investing nearly $1 million in startups across the country.
In addition, three PAGE members joined Secretary Pritzker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to continue their role as entrepreneurship ambassadors and two members discussed some of their newest entrepreneurship initiatives:
•         Coursera Co-Founder and CEO Daphne Koller has developed new online education tools for entrepreneurs. The Coursera Specialization in Entrepreneurship will focus on training entrepreneurs on how to develop a business model, discover customer insights, enhance sales and marketing techniques, and pitch their venture.  The entrepreneurship curriculum allows for students to generate an innovative new venture concept or enhance their existing concepts. At the end of the course, students will create an investor pitch. Through a competitive process, leading concepts will be evaluated for funding by experts and investors.  The Specialization on Entrepreneurship was created in partnership with University of Maryland, College Park.
•         PAGE member Hamdi Ulukaya announced his company Chobani's plan to open the Chobani Food Incubator, a first-of-its-kind program to invest in and cultivate emerging food entrepreneurs. Chobani Food Incubator will invest in, support, and scale young and growing companies. Inspired by Chobani's mission to create better food for more people, the Chobani Food Incubator will give food entrepreneurs the resources, workspace and support to launch and disrupt their ideas and companies.

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