Have you heard of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)? Be-Bound just attended it for the first time in Marrakech, Morocco!
After recently launching Be-Djezzy in Algeria, the North African region has quickly become an area of geographic focus for Be-Bound. The 5th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech was the perfect opportunity to learn as much as we could about the latest developments in the area, and expand our network in the region.
What is the GES?
The GES was implemented by Barack Obama in 2009 as a way to promote entrepreneurship around the world, specifically as a way to deepen ties between the United States and Muslim communities around the world. The GES mainly takes place in Muslim majority countries. The summit has six areas of focus: ‘Identify,’ ‘Train,’ ‘Connect,’ ‘Guide to funding,’ ‘Sustain,’ and ‘Celebrate’ entrepreneurs. Each of these is considered essential to creating a successful ecosystem for entrepreneurs.
This year’s summit was held under the patronage of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, in partnership with the White House, with the chosen theme being “Harnessing the Power of Technology for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” The event clearly reflected that the Moroccan Government is directing its energies toward supporting further job creation and economic development.
This year’s choice of Morocco as a location was meant not only to foster further entrepreneurship opportunities in the area, but also to highlight women’s entrepreneurship day in an Arab-African country. In his opening speech, Biden quoted a Chinese Proverb, saying, “Women hold up half the sky,” and added to this that they also make up half the world’s gray matter. He went on to say, “Without empowering women, everything else we hope to achieve is exponentially harder”.
Biden’s entire speech is worth a watch:
The events spread over 3 days included something for everyone. For aspiring entrepreneurs, there was a competition by GIST (The United States’ Global Innovation through Science and Technology Initiative) where individuals pitched their startup ideas and competed for resources. Some of the ideas presented included an app designed to communicate to blind people where objects were located along their upcoming path, and a security system that connects your smart home with your phone. There was an Innovation Village buzzing with networking activity and the nonstop exchanging of ideas and business card shuffles. And through it all, there was an ongoing schedule of inspirational speeches from successful entrepreneurs meant to encourage future founders, and discuss pertinent issues. Many of the discussions can be viewed here: http://www.gesmarrakech2014.org/en/media/videos.
Many Silicon Valley successes were in attendance who willingly shared their wisdom and experience for others to follow suit. The optimism for Morocco and Africa was palpable. Be-Bound had a great time at the GES, and made excellent connections. It seemed that each person we met wanted to hear more about our technology and where we are headed next.
The following quote (also from Biden’s opening speech) encapsulates the energy felt at the GES:
“To those of you who are older, think back 20 years ago. Could you in your wildest dreams have envisioned half of the incredible breakthroughs that young entrepreneurs have created in those past 20 years? And imagine — just imagine — what will happen in the next 20 as we unlock everything, including the dimensions of the human brain. And we see people in the Middle East and Africa, and every region of the world using tools of technology undreamed of just a short time ago; and expanding possibilities beyond their wildest imaginations.” – Joe Biden
To sum up: Africa is rising, and Be-Bound is perfectly placed to boost its climb!