A small-business owner in Uganda displays a system that delivers electricity on a pay-as-you-go finance model. (flickr/d.light design)

On Monday, March 30, White House officials announced that Nairobi, Kenya, will host the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. This will be the first summit held in sub-Saharan Africa. President Obama plans to attend.


For the sixth year, the summit will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with one another, gain expert insights and attract investment. Previous hosts have included the United States, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Morocco.

More on the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Launched by President Obama in 2009, the annual summit has grown to include high-level meetings and networking events, strategic workshops and pitch competitions. It’s a chance to celebrate startups and more established ventures and unlock the world’s economic potential.

More than 6,000 people, from small-business owners and mentors to policymakers and investors, participated in last year’s summit.

Business owners from around the world enjoyed networking in Morocco during the 2014 summit. (© AP Images)

Why does the U.S. care about entrepreneurship?

As Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The United States has learned through its own experience that entrepreneurship is an essential driver of prosperity and of freedom.” Entrepreneurs create opportunities for themselves and others. They unlock economic growth, create jobs and empower entire nations. Perhaps more important, they often find solutions to social problems.

Somewhere in the world right now, there’s a startup developing a new source of clean energy, another working toward a smarter electric grid and still another devising an improved way to store all that energy. The United States wants to help them transform these ideas into successful and sustainable ventures, and thus transform the world.

What is the U.S. doing to support entrepreneurship abroad?

Through the president’s Spark Global Entrepreneurship initiative, the U.S. government has set an ambitious goal to attract more than a billion dollars in new investments to support business and social entrepreneurs by the end of 2017. Half will be raised for women and young entrepreneurs (those under 35). These initiatives include top programs such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, the Young African Leaders Initiative, the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, and the entrepreneurship work of USAID’s Global Development Lab.

As the United States expands these efforts, it also will continue to work with other countries, businesses and nonprofit organizations to find new ways to light the world’s entrepreneurial spark.