Hannah and Bonnie’s Inspiring Stories from a Life Changing event

By Public Affairs staff, U.S. Embassy Wellington.

Some awesome Kiwi talent had the experience of their lives at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Kenya, thanks to the U.S. Department of State and Embassy Wellington.

Bonnie Howland, 19, of Wellington, and Hannah Duder, 23, of Christchurch, were the first New Zealanders to attend the GES on July 25 and 26. The conference, first held in 2010, is the brainchild of United States President Barack Obama.

Bonnie Howland and Hannah Duder boarding their plane in Abu Dhabi, heading to Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: Hannah Duder).
Bonnie Howland and Hannah Duder boarding their plane in Abu Dhabi, heading to Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: Hannah Duder).

Bonnie is the Founder of a social enterprise business called Indigo & Iris and has developed organic mascara with plans to give some of the product revenue to fund cataract-removal operations in the Pacific Islands. Hannah, currently studying at the University of Canterbury, developed a smartphone app and website to engage young people in the political process ahead of the New Zealand 2014 general election.

United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Mark Gilbert said it was important to Obama to support entrepreneurship, particularly among women and young adults.

“To have two young New Zealanders selected is terrific,” Gilbert said.

“The international competition for places at the global summit was very strong but when you begin to learn a little about these two extraordinary women, what they have already accomplished and what their goals are, it makes a lot of sense.”

We just loved reading Indigo & Iris founder Bonnie Howland’s account of her life-changing experience at GES 2015 KENYA. Read her beautiful blog post about Africa, social entrepreneurship, President Obama and more.

Read and be inspired…..

The GES & my first blog!

By Bonnie Howland

I’m so excited to share my experience of Kenya. I hope I can do this beautiful country and this unique opportunity justice through my first blog post!

I’m very grateful to the U.S Embassy in New Zealand who nominated me to attend the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) and the U.S Department of State who selected me as a delegate. Without their support I wouldn’t have made it to this life changing event.

Courtney O’Donnell, Airbnb. Bonnie Howland, Indigo & Iris. Andy Rabens, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues, and Hannah Duder (photo credit Hannah and Bonnie).
Courtney O’Donnell, Airbnb. Bonnie Howland, Indigo & Iris. Andy Rabens, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues, and Hannah Duder (photo credit Hannah and Bonnie).

I had never been to an event like the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the night before I left I was really excited. Leaving at 5am from Wellington, I travelled 2 days to Nairobi and stopped off in Sydney and Abu Dhabi on the way. Abu Dhabi blew my mind, it was so hot, 45 degrees hot. I also had more culture shock from my ten hours in Abu Dhabi then my entire time in Kenya.

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Another inspiring read from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is by Hannah Duder. We are very proud to have supported Hannah’s trip to Kenya, in conjunction with University of Canterbury, and thrilled to read Hannah’s blog post about her experience.

Check it out here….

The 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya

By Hannah Duder

On the 22nd of July I left for Nairobi, Kenya to attend the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) co-hosted by the Governments of the United States and Kenya. The summit made history with President Barack Obama co-hosting the Summit while visiting his father’s home country of Kenya for the first time as the leader of the free world and it marked history being the first time a sitting U.S. President had visited Kenya.

Jean Case, CEO at The Case Foundation. Breanna Zwart, Global Communications and Public Policy at Google. Mark Straub, Co-founder and Director of Khosla Impact. Nermin Saad, Engineer and CEO of Handasiyat. Isis Nyongo CEO and Founder of MumsVillage. (photo credit Hannah Duder).
Jean Case, CEO at The Case Foundation. Breanna Zwart, Global Communications and Public Policy at Google. Mark Straub, Co-founder and Director of Khosla Impact. Nermin Saad, Engineer and CEO of Handasiyat. Isis Nyongo CEO and Founder of MumsVillage. (photo credit Hannah Duder).

The US Embassy in New Zealand nominated me to attend the summit and the U.S Department of State selected me as a delegate. Thanks to the Embassy and the Business and Law School of University of Canterbury I was able to get to Nairobi, Kenya to attend this amazing event. There was one other New Zealander delegate at the Summit, Bonnie Howland, 19, who is also from Christchurch, but living in Wellington working on her startup Indigo & Iris. Bonnie and I had never met but quickly became good friends.

….The summit was the first GES held in sub-Saharan Africa, and it highlighted the entrepreneurial dynamism of the continent. The summit brought together about 1,000 mostly young entrepreneurs and investors from across the world for dynamic, outcome-oriented sessions; mentoring; and opportunities to present and pitch their work. There was a strong focus on African-based solutions, and the summit showcased how investors and entrepreneurs from other regions of the world can connect with Africa in new ways.

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Related:

Bonnie Howland and Hannah Duder to attend Global Entrepreneurship Summit.