Marrakesh, Morocco, November 19, 2014 --- U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks to approximately 300 women entrepreneurs to kick off Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in Marrakesh, Morocco. Secretary Pritzker discussed America’s leadership in empowering entrepreneurs at home and abroad, addressed the importance of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) which she chairs, and touted how a strong entrepreneurial society can lead to greater economic growth, stability and security, and a rising middle class.
In her address, Secretary Pritzker urged the women entrepreneurs in the audience to mentor and advise their peers, share best practices with one another, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in their home communities and countries, and she outlined the key ingredients needed to encourage more women and more young people to turn their ideas and inventions into thriving businesses.
This is an excerpt from Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker's speech:
"Even without all the elements in place, entrepreneurs around the world continue to defy the odds, take risks, and inspire us with their perseverance. They are entrepreneurs like Ethel Cofie, who is here today. I met Ethel this past May at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, a dynamic incubator in Accra, Ghana.
Ethel runs a successful technology consulting firm, specializing in mobile app and software development. But her success did not come easily.
Ethel grew up in Accra. She was one of only four women in a class of 150 to graduate from Ghana’s Valley View University, earning a degree in computer science.
She won a scholarship to attend graduate school in London, then returned home to Ghana to pursue her dream and start her business. However, Ethel could not find enough clients for her consulting firm; she could not secure enough business or support; she ran into too many obstacles; and she had to close down her operations.
Ethel’s original company failed, but all was not lost.
In the following years, she worked for a Gates Foundation project to expand mobile technology in Ghana. She served as a technical consultant to a Ford Foundation initiative on election monitoring in Nigeria. She managed a team of technical and business analysts for Vodafone.
Through her experiences, Ethel learned; and decided to try again. This time, with mentorship from her father, her former boss at Vodafone, and one of the leading digital media entrepreneurs in Ghana, Ethel succeeded. And today, her business is thriving.
Now, she wants other women, especially in the tech sector, to follow her lead. In fact, this summer, Ethel organized an online, pan-African meet-up to exchange best practices and encourage fellow women tech entrepreneurs across the continent."