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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Inaugural Members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship Initiative

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 7, 2014
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
202-482-4883

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will today chair the first-ever meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and  experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

President Obama announced that the Administration would form a committee of entrepreneurs, to be chaired by Secretary Pritzker, last October during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are also partners in this effort.

“I am honored that President Obama asked me to bring together some of America’s most dynamic businesspeople to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and around the world,” said Secretary Pritzker. “America’s entrepreneurial spirit has always been a key driver of our economic growth and success. Through this group, we will take what we know about transforming innovative ideas into thriving companies and share that knowledge around the country and the world.

“Beyond generating tremendous economic and employment benefits at home, our entrepreneurial spirit is also one of America’s greatest exports. Not only are our entrepreneurs broadly recognized and admired, but all over the world countries are eager to replicate American practices of embracing and learning from failure; networking, teaching, and encouraging creativity; and creating entrepreneur-friendly regulatory environments. Through their work, the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship will seek to increase the number of successful startups in the U.S. and around the globe, spurring economic growth and job creation.”

Research indicates that new and young companies are responsible for virtually all new job growth across the United States. Not only do they create positions for those entering the job market for the first time, but they also absorb workers who may have been laid off from companies that are contracting.

Members have agreed to participate in an ongoing dialogue with policy makers globally to discuss how to create an environment where creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can grow and thrive.  They will also participate in outreach and mentorship activities to help promote start-up culture, and energize their own personal and professional networks to challenge and inspire budding entrepreneurs and raise awareness of the many resources available to them.

The inaugural members of PAGE are:

  • Rich Barton, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Zillow
  • Tory Burch, Chief Executive Officer, Tory Burch; Founder, Tory Burch Foundation
  • Steve Case, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Revolution
  • Helen Greiner, Founder and CEO, CyPhy Works; CoFounder, iRobot Corporation
  • Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn
  • Quincy Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Quincy Jones Productions
  • Salman Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Khan Academy
  • Daphne Koller, Co-Founder and President, Coursera
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani
  • Nina Vaca, Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Technical Resources
  • Alexa von Tobel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LearnVest

The Obama Administration has worked to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of entrepreneurs across the country and around the world.  The White House Startup America initiative is an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to expand access to capital, accelerate innovation, and promote private sector efforts to strengthen the Nation’s startup communities.  . The Department of Commerce supports entrepreneurship through its delivery of our strategic priorities on data, innovation, and trade and investment.  As the primary voice of business in the Administration, the Department produces policies and initiatives that help in the establishment and success of new start-ups as well as the growth and competitiveness of existing businesses.

Statement from Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID

“President Obama's support for entrepreneurship, innovation, and partnership is at the core of a new model of development, which aims to engage the world's brightest minds to solve our most daunting global challenges,” Administrator Shah said. “Together with the new U.S. Global Development Lab, PAGE will empower a global network of innovators to harness science and technology to end extreme poverty and energize the global economy.”

Statements from the inaugural members of PAGE are included below:

Rich Barton, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Zillow

“I am honored to be appointed to this esteemed group and look forward to working with the President, Secretaries Pritzker and Kerry, Administrator Shah and my fellow ambassadors to help support the rise of entrepreneurs and startup ecosystems globally,” said Barton.  “When we encourage and support the innate excitement, innovation and drive of young entrepreneurs around the world, magic can happen.  Technology has made the world much smaller, and there are local and virtual resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs today that didn’t exist just a few years ago.  I’m excited to do what I can to help ensure creative and transformative ideas can become a reality, wherever they happen.” 

Tory Burch, Chief Executive Officer, Tory Burch; Founder, Tory Burch Foundation

“I am honored to be one of the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. In an increasingly global society, entrepreneurship is a key to strengthening the world economy and fostering community between nations. PAGE is also a great platform from which to build on our foundation’s continuing effort to support the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs and their families.”

Steve Case, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Revolution

“I am honored to be one of the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship and continue the work of strengthening entrepreneurial economies in the U.S. and around the world.  Through the Startup America Partnership and UP Global, I have seen first-hand what can be achieved when entrepreneurial leaders lend their time and expertise to helping grow ecosystems that foster young, high-growth companies. Our collective future depends on the success of entrepreneurs dedicated to building new products and fostering innovative solutions to our most pressing challenges. 

“I also want to thank the President, Secretary Pritzker, Secretary Kerry, Administrator Shah and the other committee members for their commitment to elevating global entrepreneurship. I look forward to working with them and making a lasting impact by supporting the people and ideas that are changing the world.”    

Helen Greiner, Founder and CEO, CyPhy Works; CoFounder, iRobot Corporation

“I was lucky to have come as a child to the U.S.  -- a limitless place where you can follow your passion and create cool products and well-paying jobs.   I am thrilled to be involved in PAGE as an ambassador of entrepreneurship to the world.  I will use the position to promote the creation of scalable tech companies to improve quality of life, employment, employee growth, community prosperity, and social good.”

Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

"In today’s age of increased global competition and rapid technological change, we need the adaptability, innovation and leadership of entrepreneurs to help build the institutions that will produce the next wave of opportunity. I'd like to thank the President, Secretary Pritzker, Secretary Kerry, Administrator Shah, and my fellow ambassadors in this effort to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. I am honored to be part of the movement.”

Daphne Koller, Co-Founder and President, Coursera

“As a professor and businessperson, the growing skills gap across disciplines - especially entrepreneurship - all over the world has become a serious concern. At Coursera we partner with top universities and organizations worldwide to equip individuals with the tools they need to succeed in today’s world and make a positive and lasting impact in the future. I am very excited to broaden our mission beyond the Coursera community and participate in the PAGE initiative to empower those individuals to create and build.”

 Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani

“When I first arrived in the U.S., I spoke very little English and had limited means, but I did have dreams, work ethic, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

“I moved to upstate New York, came across an old factory for sale, and believed I could make beautiful yogurt here, just like back home. Luckily, I was able to get an SBA loan, and the rest is history. Only in America is something like this possible. The American dream is alive and well, which is why I¹m so deeply honored that the President asked me to serve as an ambassador for entrepreneurship. I hope to give back to this great country, inspire individuals to pursue their passions, and encourage people to be makers and builders.”

Nina Vaca, Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Technical Resources

“There’s no way to overstate the importance of entrepreneurship, especially as business continues to break through borders and language. This initiative proves that the dream of starting a business is a viable one, to domestic and international would-be entrepreneurs. I look forward to working alongside some of the most innovative minds in the country to ensure that children around the country know that they can, in fact, start a business.”

Alexa von Tobel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LearnVest

“As a lifelong entrepreneur, I am honored to be a PAGE Ambassador. Entrepreneurship has been a driving passion in my life, and I am eager to work with this incredibly talented team to support innovation and growth worldwide. I applaud Secretary Pritzker, Secretary Kerry and President Obama for encouraging this initiative and look forward to seeing our progress over the next year and beyond.”