Jun 24

Meeting and greeting the world’s young business minds

Palo Alto, United States – The US government initiative to unite young entrepreneurs from around the globe with socially conscious investors wrapped up on Friday with a key note address by President Barack Obama.

More than 1,000 particpants from 170 countries took part in the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in lively workshops, business seminars, and frenzied networking sessions in California’s Silicon Valley.

The focus of the gathering was young people – especially women – from underdeveloped areas in the world to build businesses that better the lives of those willing to take a risk on their ideas – and those willing to back them with capital.

It was the seventh and last GES of the Obama administration after the president launched the initiative in 2009 in Cairo, Egypt.

Obama told a crowd more than 17,000 young businesspeople had been assisted by the GES over the years. “The point is I believe in you and America believes in you,” Obama said at Stanford University.

Meet some of those involved in this year’s summit.

Michael Amankwa, Founder and CEO of banking software company Corenett – Ghana

We offer a product that is optimised for the African market and tailored to people living on $2 a day.

We use technology that allows anyone with a basic phone to access banking services. You don’t need to have a smart phone, you just need a $10 or $20 phone to have access to financial sector services. It could be loans, people on $2 a day could get loans of $1.

When we alleviate poverty, we’re going to make some money. Africa now has about 1.1 billion people and I want to bank every African. So I’m looking for partners to work with us on this journey to help raise the standard of living for every African. When I say bank every African I mean they should have access to financial services. They need to have a savings account, they need to have an investment account, they need access to micro-insurance, which could be health, death, and accident insurance.

Providing financial services to more than a billion people requires a lot of critical partners, very strategic partners that include not just technology partners but also investors and the like, and it’s going to take a lot of money to make this happen. If you’re going to give out loans to half a billion people or a billion people, you’re going to need the money first to give it out. So that is why we’re here.


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