John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 23, 2013

I’d like to say hello to everyone participating in DEMO Fall in Silicon Valley! It’s really a privilege for me to share some thoughts with so many talented young leaders.

DEMO showcases the best of the best when it comes to innovation around the world. And that’s why DEMO has brought together entrepreneurs and innovators from Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, from Brazil, China, and beyond.

During my travels as Secretary of State, I’ve seen firsthand the amazing transformation taking place in many of your countries. And what’s driving that transformation is really what makes it so exciting – it’s young entrepreneurs and innovators, all with a bold new idea and the drive to take that idea and make it a reality.

I am especially pleased that DEMO is promoting entrepreneurs from Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where I recently spent a couple of weeks. The State Department is very proud to be a partner in these efforts, because we know that the best ideas are simply never bound by borders.

That’s why we’re working hand in hand with the private sector, NGOs, universities, and governments. And that’s why our Office of Global Partnerships has launched “LIONS AFRICA” and “TIGERS at Mekong,” two exciting public-private partnerships that strengthen entrepreneurship in Africa and the Lower Mekong sub-region in Southeast Asia.

As you know, the work you’re doing isn’t just about making money – it’s about making people’s lives better. And when you succeed, you fuel technological innovation and create economic opportunity and jobs not just for your own people, but for people around the globe.

I’m confident that in this room is the next big idea, the next start-up of tomorrow – it’s in your labs, it’s in your imaginations. So take advantage of this opportunity to network, make great connections, and find novel ideas to stand behind and support. You’ll have my support and the support of the State Department in that effort, I promise you.

All of you are risk-takers and dreamers. You’re not just the leaders of tomorrow – you’re actually leading today. And that makes all the difference. You’re changing the world even as we speak. And when I think of your talent and drive – your passion and creativity – I really couldn’t be more optimistic about the future that we can build together. So thank you for all that you do, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit.

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