PAGE Video Series: Brian Chesky

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PAGE Ambassador – Brian Chesky of Airbnb

Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) and cofounder of Airbnb Brian Chesky speaks about his Signature Initiative on expanding opportunities in Cuba and what entrepreneurship means to him.
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BRIAN CHESKY: So I'm Brian Chesky. I'm cofounder and CEO of Airbnb and I'm very excited to be here today being invited by the president and Secretary Pritzker and I'm going to be talking about entrepreneurship in Cuba. We just launched in Cuba about 40 days ago and we now — we launched with 1,000 homes in Cuba. We now have 2,000 homes, so it's doubled since we launched. And we think there's this incredibly vibrant community of what we call "micro-entrepreneurs." People who want to be able to earn income and they can start a very, very small business and launching Airbnb was a very, very important step for them. I think the amazing thing is that an environment that fosters entrepreneurship is one where people are just exposed to entrepreneurs. And I think that's probably the most important thing, you know? For me, just knowing that being an entrepreneur and starting a company was an available option became massive and I moved to San Francisco — I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I met all these people that were starting companies. And it was a bit contagious and I think in a very good way. So I think the same thing for Cuba — the conditions are ripe. They just need to know that's an available option for them — that you can start a business. That you can start a company. Other people are doing it and it's not so hard. The idea of an entrepreneur means to be empowered — to be able to create your own destiny and to kind of create the kind of world you want to live in rather than fitting into that kind of world. I think that is something that people all over the world want to be a part of.

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