Memorable Quotes From #GES2015Kenya

Now that the dust of Global Entrepreneurship Summit has that was held in Kenya for the first time last weekend has settled, it’s a good time to think about the legacy of the summit and the key lessons learnt. What impact did the summit have and what are our expectations as Kenyans? And as young entrepreneurs.

During the Summit, IBM made two strategic announcements into the future of African entrepreneurship – a $60M investment into the development of African technical skills and a partnership with Nairobi’s iHub to give African entrepreneurs access to IBM’s global expertise and advanced cloud and analytics technologies.

GE Africa and Gearbox. also announced a plan to launch a ‘GE Garages’ manufacturing program to help build a skilled workforce and drive entrepreneurial development in Kenya. This program is in development with University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya and Seven Seas Technologies in order to support the development of a manufacturing ecosystem and build skills in Kenya.

United States President Barrack Obama who opened the summit also announced that the U.S will establish three women’s entrepreneurial centers in Kenya, Zambia and Mali so as to support women entrepreneurs adding that the US Government had already helped build a network of more than 1,600 women entrepreneurs across Africa and as part of that $1 billion raised in the previous summit for emerging entrepreneurs around the world, half of the money would be going to support women and young people.

Below are some memorable quotes from IBMers and other distinguished speakers:

“Just because you came up with the idea, it doesn’t mean you own the business” Nick Nesbitt, General Manager, IBM East Africa

“It’s dangerous to be an immature player in a mature market – if you don’t have experience shift your focus to an emerging market” General Manager, IBM East Africa

“As business leaders of the world’s largest technology companies, we have an ethical, moral and personal responsibility to invest in grassroots innovation and enable the future of African entrepreneurship,” General Manager, IBM East Africa

“If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, it is essential that you put your head up and look at what’s going on around you. It is essential to see what other companies – large and small – are doing – no one can succeed in a vacuum,” Deborah Magid, Director of Strategy, IBM Venture Capital Group.

“Innovation is a much overused word these days. What is key is originality. Original solutions are those which set the basis for imitation and have the unbridled potential to leapfrog the status quo,” Kamal Bhattacharya, Vice President, IBM Research – Africa.

“Ask for advice and you’ll get money, ask for money and you’ll get advice” Julie Hanna, Executive, Kiva, Crowdfunding Platform.

“Life’s a hotel room you’re just passing through – so make the most of it” – Akon – hip hop artist, ex-convict and successful businessman.

“I want to invest in a functional product that people are using. We look for functional prototypes, customer development and – most importantly – scalability. Ask yourself: can you scale customer acquisition cheaply and measurably?,” Dave McClure, 500 Startups

“The more times one has failed and is still kicking, the more they understand what they want and how to avoid mistakes in the future,” Daymond John, CEO and Founder of FUBU and Shark Tank Investor.

“As an entrepreneur you need to keep focussing on your goals. Every morning when you plan for the day, make sure your eyes and mind are set on your goals,” Eric Kinoti, Founder and Director, Shade Systems EA LTD.

“If you can’t get a job, start your own,” MariaContreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, U.S. Government.

“If half of your team – women and girls – aren’t playing you’ve got a problem,” Barack Obama, President of the United States.

“The essence of an entrepreneur is the ability to turn challenges into opportunities,” – H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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