Last month I was one of three New Zealanders selected to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Silicon Valley. The summit brings together entrepreneurs and investors from around the world with the aim of creating new opportunities for investment, partnership, and collaboration.
The summit had a big focus on social entrepreneurship, the shared economy and initiatives to support developing communities. Throughout the summit I was able to connect with so many other entrepreneurs across a huge range of industries. With 170 different nations represented we now have contacts in almost every area of the world.
Guest speakers included the likes of Air BnB and Uber CEO's Brian Chesky and Travis Kalanick. Chesky spoke about the early days of Air BnB and how an early potential investor once told him, "I hope this isn't the only idea you're working on." Kalanick talked about having crazy ideas and said, "Don't worry about sharing your ideas, if its a billion dollar idea, everyone else will think it's too crazy to work."
President Obama addressed the summit on the final day and held a panel discussion with Mark Zuckerberg and three GES attendees who each have their own early stage ventures.
Despite hearing from some incredibly successful entrepreneurs, the absolute highlight of the trip was the surprise visit from the Silicon Valley Cast. Their entrepreneurship advice, as always, was spot on.
A huge thank-you to the US Embassy here in Wellington who provided me with the sponsorship to attend this summit. The connections and insights will undoubtedly be super helpful for Little Yellow Bird over the coming years.