In the two years since President Obama established the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) program in 2014, each PAGE member has developed a Signature Initiative designed to inspire entrepreneurs and expand networks and global exposure of existing entrepreneurs, or increase deal-flow between investors and entrepreneurs.
Rich Barton’s PAGE Signature Initiative will be to work with Mexican tech entrepreneurs through the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program and the Mexican-US Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC) by evaluating business plans and judging pitch competitions.
Through the Sara Blakely Foundation, Spanx and her personal investments, Sara Blakely’s PAGE Signature Initiative will continue to empower women to make the world a better place. The Sara Blakely Foundation is currently focused on supporting women and helping them soar through education, entrepreneurship and the arts, and has donated millions to organizations like the Malala Fund, which advocates girl’s education; Grameen America, a non-profit providing micro-loans to low-income, female entrepreneurs; the Atlanta Film Festival, a non-profit supporting women in the arts; and more.
Her business also serves as a platform to pay forward her success and give other female entrepreneurs exposure and a boost. Through the Leg Up® program, consumers can learn more about the challenges of being a female entrepreneur and vote to allocate additional funds. Additionally, Sara spends her personal time, resources and energies to support women in creative ways, like through The Belly Art Project – an eye-catching coffee-table book featuring 100 painted pregnant bellies that seeks to raise awareness and funds for Every Mother Counts, a non-profit dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.
Through the Tory Burch Foundation, Tory PAGE Signature Initiative will continue to hold mentoring and networking events for women entrepreneurs around the U.S. and will build on her partnership with Bank of America to provide access to affordable loans through Community Lenders. In PAGE’s first year, Tory held events in Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.
Steve Case's PAGE signature initiative is his “Rise of the Rest” bus tour that celebrates local innovators and has invested $2 million in startups in 19 cities since 2014. Secretary Penny Pritzker joined him for the Cincinnati leg of his first tour in June 201, where they visited local incubators and start-ups. Steve's next Rise of the Rest tour will take place the week of October 3, 2016.
As his PAGE Signature Initiative, Brian Chesky is working to expand Cuba’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through increased internet and online literacy; practical education in areas including photography, art, and marketing; and the introduction of online payment systems to support Cuban entrepreneurs. Airbnb's business has continued to grow in Cuba, with over 5,000 listings in the country. Guests from all 50 states have stayed with Airbnb in Cuba since the company launched there in April 2015.
Brian traveled to Cuba on President Obama's historic visit in March 2016, where he met with local entrepreneurs, spoke at an entrepreneurship event hosted by the White House, and met with Airbnb hosts in Havana. Airbnb has also hosted a group of Cuban entrepreneurs at their offices, and engaged in mentoring sessions on social media, data, and engineering.
Additionally, through Airbnb’s global community and footprint, Airbnb is providing lodging and meeting-space opportunities at global events for entrepreneurs to enhance collaboration and partnerships. Airbnb has partnered with various organizations like Vital Voices and the Global Fund for Women to support mission-critical travel for women leaders and activists to attend trainings, convenings, and speaking engagements across the globe.
As his PAGE signature initiative, Patrick is working to globalize opportunity and economic access for entrepreneurs, so exceptional ideas and promising talent aren’t limited by geographic borders. In March 2016, as part of President Obama’s historic trip to Havana, Patrick helped lay the foundation for Cubans to enter the global economy through Stripe Atlas. Atlas gives entrepreneurs anywhere in the world access to the business and banking infrastructure necessary for starting an internet business, including a U.S. corporate entity, a U.S. bank account and a way to accept payments from customers globally. Patrick is also working with government and private sector bodies on immigration initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and remove obstacles for the most promising entrepreneurs to create jobs and foster technological progress.
Antonio Gracias’ PAGE Signature Initiative, the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), empowers entrepreneurs from Latin America with the training, tools, networks, and resources they need to grow their businesses and contribute to the overall economic development and prosperity of the region. YLAI has also placed select fellows in dynamic American organizations for training and mentoring.
In connection with this year's GES, Antonio Gracias has just launched Adelante, an international exchange program for Cuban entrepreneurs. This program provides emerging Cuban entrepreneurs with an opportunity to visit the U.S., meet and exchange ideas with U.S. entrepreneurs, network with business leaders, and receive relevant training. By building connections between entrepreneurs in Cuba and the United States, Adelante seeks to foster a closer relationship between the people of the two countries. As part of this program, 11 Cuban entrepreneurs are in California this week to attend GES 2016; this is the first year that Cuba has participated in GES. These entrepreneurs are engaged in various business endeavors in Cuba, from enterprise computing consulting to operating restaurants and barbershops.
As her PAGE Signature Initiative, Helen is working to inspire young people to become engineers and entrepreneurs by exposing them to robotic technologies. As part of this effort, she is a regular keynote speaker at events such as the 2015 Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders and the 2016 BotBall championships. She also works to foster technological literacy through her work as a trustee of the Boston Museum of Science and an advisor to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Julie Hanna's PAGE Signature Initiative, “Global Capital Access,” initially committed to fund and deliver $100 million in crowdfunded loans to 200,000 women and young entrepreneurs around the world through Kiva.org. One year later, $107 million in loans have reached almost 300,000 entrepreneurs across 77 countries, from Silicon Valley to the Great Rift Valley. Each of these are women-owned or youth-owned businesses that create jobs for people in their communities. Julie's work as a PAGE has also inspired 111,000 new citizen lenders from 152 countries to join Kiva.org.
Daymond John’s PAGE Signature Initiative is working with underserved entrepreneurs and emerging digital influencers to help them develop customer bases, brands, and new business models that can turn home-grown operations into successful businesses. Daymond has traveled around the country doing pitch contests with Capital One and mentoring entrepreneurs.
Steve Jurvetson is an inventor, startup investor and is considered one of the country’s leading experts in technology forecasting. With his ability to translate how technology will shape and create the businesses of the future, Steve’s Signature Initiative will be to evangelize how new technologies and data such as machine learning, global satellite imagery, and next generation internet capabilities will help entrepreneurs to build their companies, reach new markets and rapidly scale.
He will deliver this initiative through hosting technology discussions and mentoring tech entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad. The goal of these engagements is to build stronger ecosystems for entrepreneurs to thrive, which require the involvement of investors, researchers, policy-makers, and economic development practitioners. Steve will also focus on East Africa’s emerging markets and how their increasing connectivity and capital investments in startups can help to develop stronger entrepreneurial communities and economies.
For her PAGE Signature Initiative, Daphne Koller has developed a Coursera Specialization in Entrepreneurship: a new online series of courses for entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Since the program’s inception, Coursera has launched more than 50 courses and five Specializations in Entrepreneurship in partnership with top universities such as the University of Maryland, Michigan State University, Universidad de Los Andes, Wharton, and more. These courses are available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, and Russian, with subtitles in more than 15 languages. More than one million learners have enrolled in these Entrepreneurship Specializations and courses on Coursera to date, with strong representation from 174 countries (each with more than 100 learners).
Daniel Lubetzky’s PAGE Signature Initiative aims to pique interest in and dialogue about redefining the role of business and in society. Through it, he hopes to empower the next generation of global entrepreneurs to develop creative business models that balance commercial success with social purpose. Daniel invested $3 million in three values-driven women food entrepreneurs who participated in the first-ever White House Demo Day in 2015.
Daniel Lubetzky and fellow PAGE member Andrew Yang announced that their respective nonprofit organizations, the KIND Foundation and Venture for America, will co-host an Entrepreneurship Summit for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs focused on building businesses that will positively impact their communities. The Summit will take place in November 2016 during National Entrepreneurship Month. Daniel and the KIND team will personally lead mentoring sessions at the Summit.
Ali Rosenthal's PAGE Signature Initiative will be to help entrepreneurs incorporate strategic partnerships into their business models. Ali will present several frameworks as well as meet with groups of entrepreneurs at all levels to discuss how to build effective partnership programs. Ali hopes to teach budding entrepreneurs how to set realistic goals and achieve them through effective partnerships.
Ali will also be producing a series of podcasts around women leaders in financial technologies on subjects including the use of technology platforms for helping entrepreneurs access capital.
As her PAGE Signature Initiative, Debbie Sterling is working to introduce girls to STEM through a variety of mechanisms, including a web video series now in production that highlights the exciting opportunities STEM provides for girls. Called “Toy Hackers,” the show is about an ethnically diverse group of kid engineers (three girls and one boy) who create inventions by hacking toys together to solve real-world problems. Based on the popular "toy unboxing" and "toy narrative" memes on YouTube, the show is a hilarious, story-driven take on introducing STEM concepts to kids. The show features empowered engineering role model characters and DIY bonus content, where kids around the world can follow along and build their own working inventions with common household objects. The show will launch on YouTube this fall.
Hamdi Ulukaya’s PAGE Signature Initiative is to open the Chobani Food Incubator, a New York-based accelerator program where entrepreneurs will have access to up to $2 million in investments and mentorship opportunities.
Nina Vaca’s PAGE Signature Initiative is working with the National Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC) to link resources including mentorship and funding opportunities for than 9 million women-owned businesses across the country. Additionally, Nina has developed her “At the Table” initiative at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Foundation, which leverages networks and resources to help women entrepreneurs scale their companies.
In May 2014, Nina joined Secretary Pritzker on a trade mission to Ghana along with 20 American business delegates. Nina met with local African business leaders at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED), where she mentored entrepreneurs-in-training.
Alexa von Tobel's PAGE Signature Initiative will provide complimentary business plan evaluations and mentorship to fellow entrepreneurs. This service will be a key tool in helping entrepreneurs to better craft their pitch to potential investors, identify gaps in the marketplace for them to fill, and to develop a product or service that has the greatest potential for commercial success. Alexa will also work to build partnerships with local schools and community colleges to help students learn firsthand what it takes to start a business.
In her PAGE Signature Initiative, Jane Wurwand, Founder of Dermalogica and FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship), will work to fill the business skills gap that currently exists in the salon industry by strengthening vocational training pathways for women to small business ownership. The U.S. salon and spa industry provides a robust entrepreneurship avenue for women, who make up 85% of the industry and own 61% of all salon businesses. By creating entrepreneurship education to supplement the existing vocational training education, the salon industry accelerator is set to impact more than 100,000 women over the next three years. The program will include access to online courses and a platform that will support entrepreneurs in building skills related to leadership, communications, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and small business management.
Andrew Yang is the founder and CEO of Venture for America, a fellowship program for enterprising recent college graduates to launch their careers as entrepreneurs and revitalize American cities. After five weeks of training, VFA Fellows spend two years at a startup in an emerging U.S. city to learn how to contribute to a high-growth business.
Andrew and fellow PAGE member Daniel Lubetzky announced that their respective nonprofit organizations, Venture for America and the KIND Foundation, will co-host an Entrepreneurship Summit for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs focused on building businesses that will positively impact their communities. The Summit will take place in November 2016 during National Entrepreneurship Month.