“I believe that entrepreneurs like you can make the world a better place, one idea at a time,” President Obama told young entrepreneurs from more than 20 countries at an event honoring their achievements.

“And you’re going to be how change happens — one person, one step, one business, one city, one country at a time.”

Speaking at the White House on May 11, Obama announced steps to further support entrepreneurship and innovation around the world, including the creation of the Spark Global Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“[This] brings together some of the most successful entrepreneurship programs across our government and makes sure that they’re working with the private sector in ways that allow for long-term, sustained success,” Obama said.

Obama also announced the goal of generating $1 billion in new investment for emerging global entrepreneurs by 2017 and urged businesses and investors to support entrepreneurship ahead of the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya July 25–26.

President Obama meets young entrepreneurs at the White House on May 11. (White House)

“If enough folks respond to the challenge that I’m issuing today, I believe that at the summit in Nairobi we’ll be able to announce new investments and commitments that will pay off for years to come,” Obama said.

With more than half of the world’s population under 30, young entrepreneurs offer innovative solutions to problems facing their communities.

“At a time that we’re facing challenges that no country can meet by itself — lifting people out of poverty, combating climate change, preventing the spread of disease — helping social entrepreneurs mobilize and organize brings more people together to find solutions,” Obama said.

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit, initiated by Obama in 2009, aims to empower aspiring entrepreneurs by providing them access to mentors, networks and funding. In Kenya, “I’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the brilliant young entrepreneurs from across Africa and around the world,” the president said.