Alumna Represents U.S. at G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit

Solome Tibebu '12 was one of 20 representatives of the United States among some 400 global leaders and young entrepreneurs at the G20 Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance (YEA) Summit in Sydney, Australia this month.

The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance is a collective of leading entrepreneurship support organizations representing the G20 countries who seek to promote youth entrepreneurship as a powerful driver of economic renewal, job creation, innovation and social change.

As a representative at the G20 YEA Summit, Tibebu weighed-in on key global issues such as youth employment through entrepreneurship, culture and equality, investment and access to capital, as well as education and coordinated support.

Dynamic Business reported that in a communiqué, summit participants agreed to push for action in eight separate areas in order to create more high growth small and medium enterprises and reduce youth unemployment:

  1. Reform of global financial systems to provide better access to finance for SMEs and more effective regulation of new financing platforms (such as crowd-sourced funding alternatives).
  2. Better co-operation between business and education sectors to address labor market needs and skills shortages.
  3. Embedding entrepreneurship programs within the education system.
  4. Enhancing incentives leading to the commercialization of new technologies.
  5. Reducing the regulatory and tax burden for employers and employees.
  6. Creating a new G20 multilateral “start-up visa” giving entrepreneurs more ability to conduct business internationally.
  7. Opening up government procurement practices to small businesses owned by young entrepreneurs.
  8. Ensuring there is a major goal in the UN post-2015 development agenda on youth employment and entrepreneurship.


As an alumna of the University of St. Thomas’ Schulze School Entrepreneurship, Tibebu’s impressive track-record at the intersections of healthcare, technology and entrepreneurship positioned her as a valuable contributor to the global conversation on solving the some of the world’s challenging problems and opportunities through entrepreneurship.

Tibebu is an active participant in the local entrepreneurship and healthcare communities as a co-founder, board member and task force leader for several health IT communities in the Twin Cities and non-profits. Her experience with Ashoka, the leading global social entrepreneurship organization, also lends credibility to this position. Tibebu was the first Entrepreneur-In-Residence in Minnesota for Ashoka YouthVenture and participated as a keynote speaker at the Ashoka YouthVenture Summit in Washington, D.C.

She is the founder of Cognific, a behavioral health patient engagement company funded in part by the Norris Institute, an early-stage seed fund housed at the University of St. Thomas. Tibebu first got the idea for her patent-pending technology while a student at St. Thomas and enrolled in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, where Cognific took first place in 2011.

With support from the entrepreneurship faculty at UST, she pursued the development of the technology, acquired seed funding from the Norris Institute, built the team, filed the IP, and launched the new business with healthcare partners and hospitals in the metro area.  Cognific was named Student Division Winner in the Minnesota Cup in 2012, the largest statewide business competition in the nation.

The University of St. Thomas further gains notoriety as a leader in entrepreneurial education, with accomplished students and alumni who won previous national recognition such as Global Student Entrepreneurship Award national winners BreAnna Fisher ’12 (who attended the G20 YEA Summit last year) and Joe Keeley ’03.

“The entrepreneurship program at St. Thomas is the most comprehensive program to learn what it takes to be successful and connect with the right people and places." said Tibebu. "The faculty and both undergraduate and graduate programs in healthcare and entrepreneurship have such a presence in this community that helped me plug-in to make an impact through entrepreneurship.”

Country members of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20YEA) include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK, the USA, South Africa and Argentina. The European Union is also represented in the G20YEA.

Read more about Tibebu and Cognific in the Fall 2013 edition of B. magazine.