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GES 2016 takeouts

Jeff Hoffman on outcomes of GES 2016

I’ll add my two cents as well.  I judged the international pitch competition for GIST (the State Department program for Global Innovation through Science and Technology) at GES and also did several days of mentoring with the international entrepreneurs for GES+ and for GEN (Global Entrepreneurship Network) where I serve as a board member.  We had entrepreneurs from 140 countries compete for cash in a pitch competition, and I worked with around 30 of those countries personally.  

My key takeaways are these:

1.  The democracy of information (i.e. the internet) is enabling new entrepreneurs from emerging nations to launch companies and create impact in ways they never could before because they DIDN’T KNOW HOW.  With tools like Coursera, TED talks, SlideShare, and so many others, they are learning how to launch and compete.  This is great news for the whole planet.

2.  Despite the fact that we held GES in Silicon Valley and all of the big keynote speakers were internet company CEOs, the focus on important offline innovation in such areas as agriculture, medicine, home building, drinking water, and more was exciting to see this year.  We have to teach people that the word “entrepreneurs” simply means “problem solver”, not “website or app developer”.

3.  The key to success for global entrepreneurship is CONNECTIVITY.  These people need help, and building networks of people to connect to each other and help each other is more important than it has ever been.  We can all be part of this solution.


On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:52 PM, Robert Cohen <bcohen@bway.net> wrote:



I agree with you on your optimism. I find your comments are enormously interesting. These advances might have a far more positive impact on economic development than many expect.



I would love to get them to interact with I4J.  The media is missing this “movement” because they only cover the big, Silicon Valley funded startups and sexy tech companies.  They don’t get down in the dirt where the action is, which is where I have spent the last three years.

Maybe we get a globally diverse small group of these entrepreneurs on a Zoom chat or Google Hangout where we can hear their thoughts, ask what they need, and have a live Q&A?

Might there be a way to help these people interact with I4J?


Perhaps Philip and Byron could add some of their reaction to the GES.




Posted on June 29, 2016

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