Amidst international upheaval in the wake of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, President Barack Obama spent the day at Stanford University praising the entrepreneurial community at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit alongside Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“The world needs your creativity and your energy and your vision,” he said in his opening remarks. “You’re going to be what helps this process of global integration work in a way that works for everyone and not just some. I believe we are better off in a world where we are trading and networking and communicating and sharing ideas. That also means that cultures are colliding and sometimes that’s disruptive and people get worried. You’re the bridge. You’re the glue.”
Zuckerberg was joined on the panel by Mai Medhat, the Egyptian co-founder of Eventtus, a mobile platform to help organize events; Jean Bosco Nzeyimana, the Rwandan co-founder and CEO of Habona Limited, a startup that takes biological waste and turns it into environmentally friendly fuel products; and Mariana Costa Checa, the Peruvian founder of Laboratoria, a company dedicated to training young women to code and connecting them with career opportunities.
Obama asked Zuckerberg if he views Facebook’s role as one that creates a platform for entrepreneurs around the world, to which the 32-year-old CEO replied “to me, entrepreneurship is about creating change, not just creating companies.”
Zuckerberg said that when he started Facebook, his mission was to give every person a voice and bring communities together — and he said that has been a consistent throughline of the company’s work, especially in its initiative to equip countries and regions that do not have access to the internet with stronger connectivity.
“It’s not something that we’ll make money from for a very long period of time, if it works out. But it’s this deep belief that you’re trying to make a change, you’re trying to connect people in the world, and I really do believe if you do something good and you help people out, then eventually some portion of that good will come back to you,” he said. “I hope that the work that we do can play a role in empowering so many entrepreneurs to build great companies.”
For more from Obama and Zuckerberg, check out the video above.