The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), has provided emerging entrepreneurs with exceptional networking, insight and investment opportunitiesan for the past seven years, with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) coordinating the private-sector engagement with support from leading partners. The Summit, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, was held in Silicon Valley at Stanford University this year, bringing together more than 700 entrepreneurs, 300 investors and some of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Travis Kalanick from Uber, Steve Case from Revolution, Reid Hoffman from LinkedIn and many more.

At the GES, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) committed more than $38 million to global entrepreneurship which will help mobilize the power of global entrepreneurs and innovators. USAID will also be partnering with 500 Startups which is a leading Silicon Valley global venture capital fund and accelerator to host the Geeks on a Plane (GOAP) trip to Africa in March 2017. On this first ever Africa GOAP trip, the Silicon Valley leaders will participate in an 11-day itinerary in Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, to engage with African entrepreneurs and innovators and explore partnerships and investment opportunities. The trip will culminate with the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Johannesburg on March 13-16, 2017.

Executive Head of SEA Africa, Kizito Okechukwu, thanked GEN, USAID and 500 Startups ​for making this vision a reality. He urged African entrepreneurs to take positive advantage and leverage from this new development.

“It will also ensure continuous collaboration amongst African and other global entrepreneurs and assist to sustain the African Union’s 2063 Agenda," he said. “Africans breaking away from the syndrome of always coming up with new ideas but no significant achievement and set in motion high levels of productivity, growth, entrepreneurship and transformation. We are really looking forward to collaborating with all partners in ensuring that the GEC 2017 is an impactful one."

The GEC is the largest gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and policymakers from more than 160 countries with more than 4,000 delegates. The global entrepreneurship ecosystem will gather in one of South Africa’s most innovative hubs – Johannesburg.

The GEC Johannesburg will be hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Kauffman Foundation, SEA Africa, the City of Johannesburg, National Department of Small Business Development, Gauteng Provincial Government, Absa – a member of Barclays, Transnet, Hollard, Microsoft and Telkom.

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