Last June, I had the honour of being invited to the 7th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), hosted by President Barack Obama at Stanford University, California.

The GES provided entrepreneurs with the opportunity to mingle with some of the world’s top investors, business executives and political leaders in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Notable speakers included President Barack Obama; Secretary of State John Kerry; Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel; Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook; Brian Chesky, CEO of AirBnb; and Shark Tank’s Daymond John, among others.

I was honoured to represent Canada at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and hope to amplify the benefits of my attendance by sharing some of my key takeaways from the summit.

Tackling global challenges through entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs’ natural affinity for innovation has allowed them to become a catalyst for solving global problems in partnership with the world’s governments.

Across the world, entrepreneurs address global challenges in areas such as education, transportation, healthcare access, infrastructure, and economic development.

Through their work, entrepreneurs also catalyze and accelerate globalization. There are extraordinary benefits to a globalized world where we are trading, networking and communicating with one another- and yet as cultures collide, people are getting worried.

John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, suggests that entrepreneurship can help contribute to political stability:

In our world today, there is an intimate connection between the creation of economic opportunity and the potential of peace.

While economies have undergone dramatic shifts, have been transformed by technology and automation, and are increasingly globalized; entrepreneurship has remained an engine of growth.

Entrepreneurship has the opportunity to expand and broaden the benefits of globalization for everyone, everywhere. By translating their vision into reality, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to contribute to global prosperity and progress.

How entrepreneurs shape the world

So what allows entrepreneurs to succeed in transforming their ideas, dreams, and creativity into successful companies that address the world’s most pressing challenges?

As the CEO of Global Professionals Practicum (GPP), I believe the key is a strong network of peers, mentors, and advisors. It can often be the difference between success and failure.

Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn concurs:

The key thing that enables entrepreneurs to succeed is networks. Networks provide access to customers, capital, and talent, but most importantly to learning opportunities.

Brian Chesky, CEO of AirBnb acknowledges that networks are particularly important for entrepreneurs because they enable you to learn best practices in a short period of time:

Learn who the experts are and learn from them.

I hope that entrepreneurs who are looking to tackle global challenges will reach out to learn about how to build a network that can contribute to their success.

Don’t be shy: talk to the experts, connect with mentors that will help you navigate through challenges, and find that connection who might just change your life.

This article is part of an ongoing series on how to build successful professional relationships and networks. Follow Jessica at Huffington Post or Global Professionals Practicum.

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