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The White House Celebrates Entrepreneurs Around the World

President Obama hosts a meeting on global entrepreneurship at the White House, where he names nine new Ambassadors of Global Entrepreneurship.

This afternoon at the Global Entrepreneurship meeting, President Obama welcomed emerging entrepreneurs from across the country and around the world to the White House to honor their achievements in their fields of business.

He also announced new commitments in support of the Spark Global Entrepreneurship Initiative -- a bold goal of generating $1 billion in new investment for emerging entrepreneurs worldwide by 2017, and issued a call to action to companies, organizations, and individuals across the globe to increase their support to emerging entrepreneurs, before his trip to Kenya in July for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

"Encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship can help us to tackle some of the greatest challenges that we face around the world."

— President Obama

No matter where he traveled around the world, the President noted the one thing that united folks everywhere was their desire to know how to start a business and share their own destiny.

President Obama greets young entrepreneurs in South Court

President Barack Obama greets young entrepreneurs in the vestibule of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium prior to remarks at the 2015 Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) and Young Entrepreneurs event, May 11, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Now, more of America’s business leaders and innovators are joining the White House in an effort to promote entrepreneurship. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative is comprised of a group of successful American businesspeople eager to share their knowledge and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. The PAGE initiative grew out of a promise that President Obama made at the 4th annual global entrepreneurship summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2013. PAGE initiative members have all agreed to engage with policy makers globally, acting as ambassadors in discussions about how to create environments where innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship can thrive.

President Obama and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced today that nine new members have joined the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative:

  • Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO, Airbnb
  • Antonio Gracias, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Valor Equity Partners
  • Julie Hanna, Executive Chair of the Board, Kiva
  • Elizabeth Holmes, Founder and CEO, Theranos
  • Daymond John, Founder, FUBU, and CEO, Shark Branding
  • Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Founder, KIND Snacks
  • Ali Rosenthal, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Wealthfront
  • Debbie Sterling, Founder and CEO, GoldieBlox
  • Andrew Yang, Founder and CEO, Venture for America

"To all the young entrepreneurs out here -- you are the face of change."

— President Obama

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, a website that allows individuals to rent out their own lodging, is an example of entrepreneurship as a catalyst for change. Since the Obama administration has opened the doors for businesses to invest in Cuba, Airbnb has decided to expand there now that the Cuban economy is opening up to greater Internet connectivity and modern payment systems. Now, Airbnb is part of the progress that will ultimately provide enormous economic opportunities for the Cuban people to navigate new business, learn new skills, and increase their Internet literacy.

Today’s meeting at the White House was a precursor to the President’s trip to Nairobi, Kenya this summer for the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The United States has played a key role in organizing all five previous Global Entrepreneurship Summits, including the inaugural summit in 2010, designed to encourage innovators to choose entrepreneurship as a profession and to empower aspiring entrepreneurs, giving them access to mentors, networks, and capital.

Learn more about the United States’ investment in emerging global entrepreneurs, here.

See the President’s full remarks on encouraging global entrepreneurship, here.

And, check out the President's challenge to entrepreneurs, here