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The APEC Startup conference that just wrapped up in Seoul signaled stepped-up interest within the 21 APEC member nations in policies that promote new firm formation as ameans of “booting up” economies. Interestingly, the drive for this effort is being led not by the United States, but by South Korea which has taken big strides over the past two years to rebuild its own startup ecosystem.
Despite the profound impact of the banking sector collapse in 2008 on Iceland’s economy, the island nation ranks 13th in this year’s Global Innovation Index, 14th in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, and 23rd in the Index of Economic Freedom. There has been much debate and disagreement regarding the key steps that put this social-market economy on a path to successful recovery but no one denies the contribution of the more silent actors transforming the economy for the better—its entrepreneurs. I recently sat down in Reykjavik with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to learn about the entrepreneurs who are building what they call an “anti-fragile” entrepreneurship ecosystem.
I report this week from Africa which is enjoying its greatest economic success in decades and where there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. With economic growth rates this year around 6 percent in one-third of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries, the IMF forecasts that Africa will have the fastest-growing economy of any continent over the next five years. The World Bank in turn has reported earlier this month that more than 20 sub-Saharan African countries, encompassing more than 400 million people, have gained middle-income status, while the number of people living in poverty is down by roughly 10 percentage points over the past decade.
Thousands of people from 135 countries have already confirmed their participation for next month’s week-long Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) and festival in Rio de Janeiro. As chair of the GEC for the past few years, I have witnessed the emergence of this global platform for collaboration among entrepreneurs, their investors and national leaders held outside the United States. So what happens at the GEC?
At the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship which I am attending this week, in her speech before all the delegates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced specific steps to create entrepreneurial environments, expand access to capital and expertise, and advance mentorship for emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs...
Last week, I shared how we should be encouraged by recent developments to ramp up efforts in support of America’s new and young job creators—including legislation put forth by President Obama at the end of January.
The creative genius among the young is perhaps one of the least-tapped resources in many economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. If given the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a career path and a business-friendly environment, young people can unleash their potential—creating gains for all in terms of quality of life, employment and wealth generation. This Friday, I will get a first-hand look at some of that potential as I moderate part of the African Innovation Summit—sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in coordination with Meridian International Center—that will welcome more than 60 young African entrepreneurs to Washington, DC. And later this year, thanks to a new partnership, we will see some of the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs compete during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Sweden is not waiting for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress next month to devise its strategy for building a strong startup ecosystem. While “number of patents” is only one metric to measure innovation, Sweden thinks it is one of the most important. The 2011 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII)—developed by the INSEAD eLab which takes into account dimensions such as creativity and efficiency—ranks Sweden second of 125 economies. For the Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, Sweden came in third position. And, in Thomson Reuters’ “Global Innovators” list, Sweden is the headquarters location of 6 percent of the list’s companies.
As I read this morning’s news about Syrian security forces renewing attacks on the city of Hama, I become even more committed to finding stories of Syrians looking beyond the divides of politics, class and religion, who can help shape the fate of the country and its four-months-long revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
In two weeks, Global
Entrepreneurship Week kicks off with more than 40,000 events spread out over
a seven day period in 123 countries. At competitions like Startup Open for the
most promising new startups in 60 countries, to tournaments for cleantech ideas,
at stadiums where entrepreneurship will meet music and sports, from heads of
state to high school competitions, Global Entrepreneurship Week has become a
movement for the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs inspired by the
possibility of human endeavor for the benefit of all.
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