Entrepreneurship summit in India will open doors

Just getting to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley last year was a thrill for Kenia Mattis, founder of a Kingston, Jamaica, digital media studio that makes animated books to teach children to read.

Then, at the gathering of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors and leaders from government and industry, she was chosen to make a pitch onstage for her startup — and won a $15,000 prize.

The connections she made are still paying dividends for Mattis and her ListenMi Caribbean Ltd. team, which has launched a spinoff, GoLexiGo, to create learning games.

“It was a tremendous experience,” says Mattis, who gained mentors and a network that spans the world. One mentor connected her with literacy expert Richard Gentry, who wound up traveling to Jamaica and helping Mattis and her team improve their products, including a literacy app.

Hundreds more job creators like Mattis will get opportunities to fine-tune pitches, find investors and mentors, and expand networks at the eighth Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by the United States and India November 28–30 in Hyderabad, India’s fourth-largest city.

Hyderabad is home to many American and international companies as well as T-Hub, India’s largest startup incubator.

The governments of India and the U.S. are selecting delegates from among thousands who applied. The summit connects emerging entrepreneurs with investors and business innovators who have navigated the path from startup to market force.

The theme is “Women First, Prosperity for All,” which will emphasize the role women who launch businesses play in making communities more prosperous and secure. Most of the invited entrepreneurs will be women — a first.

White House adviser Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump and herself an entrepreneur, leads the U.S. delegation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the summit, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of India’s independence.

“Like India, the United States cherishes innovation and hard work and the freedom for everyone to voice their views,” Alice Wells, head of the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, told the U.S.-India Business Council on September 12.

The United States is India’s number one trading partner, she noted, and India’s burgeoning middle class “will drive Indian growth and will also offer major opportunities for U.S. exports.”

The summit will focus on four innovative, high-growth industries: health care and life sciences; the digital economy and financial technology; energy and infrastructure; and media and entertainment.

Back in Kingston, Mattis will be following the summit from afar. “GES is a mind-blowing event,” she says.