“It’s a good looking group,” said US President Barack Obama, as he introduced four entrepreneurs to an audience at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley last week.
Not a bad compliment to get from a man of such distinction.
Sitting with a panel of four young entrepreneurs, all at different stages with their businesses and from different parts of the world, Eventtus’ Mai Medhat from Egypt was joined by Laboratoria cofounder Mariana Costa Checa (Peru), Habona founder Jean Bosco Nzeyimana (Republic of Rwanda) and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In her conversation with Obama, Medhat talked about how her visit to the first Startup Weekend in Cairo, and then a TedX event a week later, led her and her cofounder to see a gap in the market when it came to helping people network at these events.
Obama used the panel to comment on the censoring of internet in other countries, which also emphasized how government policy can help to advance the work of entrepreneurs (there were apparently over 20 representatives from other governments attending GES), as well as VCs and other businesses.
“It is hard to foster and encourage an entrepreneurial culture if it’s closed and if information flows are blocked. What we are seeing around the world oftentimes is governments wanting the benefits of entrepreneurship and connectivity, but also thinking top-down control is compatible with that, and it’s not,” Obama said, according to Techcrunch.
Medhat described her startup journey as “challenging”, and said that for the MENA region “the ecosystem has grown but we still have a lot to do”.