U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Delivers Opening Remarks at Final Day of Global Entrepreneurship Summit


Friday, June 24, 2016
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks to kick-off the final day of the Global Entrepreneurship summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Following the last two successful Summits in Morocco and Kenya, GES 2016 has come to Silicon Valley in order to highlight the successes of thousands of firms in the area that exemplify America’s entrepreneurial spirit. This year's Summit brings 700 global entrepreneurs together with 300 investors and entrepreneurial supporters, creating a wealth of opportunity for investment, partnership, and collaboration.
In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship to America’s economy and celebrated President Barack Obama’s Executive Order institutionalizing the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative. 

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good morning, and welcome to day 3 of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. For those of you who have traveled here from all over the world, I hope you are enjoying Silicon Valley. I grew up in the Palo Alto area and actually earned my law and business degrees right here at Stanford. And I am so proud that we have the opportunity this week to expose all of you to the region’s thriving innovation ecosystem and its remarkable network of researchers, entrepreneurs, inventors and investors.

While Silicon Valley is known around the world for its entrepreneurial spirit, innovation can happen anywhere. As Secretary of Commerce, I have traveled all over the United States and to more than 40 countries. And everywhere I go, whether its New Orleans or Accra, Detroit or Kyiv, I have found exceptional entrepreneurs who are taking risks and changing their societies for the better.

The United States – and the Department of Commerce in particular – has a unique role to play in ensuring entrepreneurs all over the world have access to the support structure they need to thrive. Indeed, new businesses account for nearly all net new job creation in the United States, creating opportunity for our people and fueling our economy. That is why our Department and this Administration have made it a priority to share our expertise and our experience building an entrepreneurial society with our partners worldwide.

One of the ways we meet this charge is through a public-private partnership called the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, or PAGE – which I am honored to chair. PAGE brings together some of America’s top entrepreneurs, who use their stories and knowledge to mentor and inspire young people and start-ups, not only across our own country but around the world.

This morning, President Obama signed an executive order that institutionalizes the PAGE program, as well as our country’s participation in GES. I am thrilled that PAGE will continue inspiring young people and start-ups into the next Administration and beyond.

Today, you will have the opportunities to hear from several of our PAGE members, including Steve Case from Revolution Growth on how the Internet is transforming entrepreneurship worldwide, Brian Chesky from Airbnb on the sharing economy, Daphne Koller from Coursera on education technology, Julie Hanna from Kiva on immigrant entrepreneurs, Roboticist Helen Greiner on drones and Shark Tank’s Daymond John on embracing failure.

You will hear shortly from President Obama – a man I am proud to call a friend, a leader I am honored to serve as Secretary of Commerce, and a visionary who has made promoting entrepreneurship around the world a signature priority since his first year in office.

I also urge you to use this final day of the summit to reach out to investors through the GES app if you have not already – because ultimately, this Summit is about more than just promoting the importance of entrepreneurship around the world. I am very proud that my team has been focused on making sure investors attend the summit, so that our entrepreneurs have the opportunity to make key connections. This year, we have almost one investor attending for every two entrepreneurs. Our goal is to give YOU the tools, support, and capital you need to succeed.

Over the next couple days, most of you are going to leave Silicon Valley and return to your home countries. I hope that you leave armed with not only more knowledge to help your businesses succeed, but with ideas for how to work with your own governments to create pro-entrepreneurship policies and programs in your countries. You have had the opportunity to see what works for entrepreneurs from all over the world, so ask the leaders in your country to invest in business incubators that churn out successful companies, push for laws that make it easy for you to both start and close a business, discuss the importance of policies that allow you to fail and get back up again, and promote a culture that encourages risk-taking. Remember: every one of you has the power to be an agent of change and a champion of entrepreneurship.

Finally, I have a personal ask to make of you. Once you are successful, please find a way – like our PAGE members – to pay your knowledge forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs; to mentor young people who can benefit from your experience; and to leave the ladder down for those who wish to follow in your path. Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the summit.

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Last updated: 2016-06-24 17:30

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