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Proud to have beaten the odds arising from a transition to independence since 1991 and the legacy of a war that only ended in 1995, Croatia officially joined the European Union on July 1, 2013. Last month, I accepted an invitation to visit with the nation’s president, Ivo Josipović, at his retreat on the Brijuni Islands and found a nation already embarking on its next mission.
Holding an American and British passport, I enjoy the freedom to move easily among economies which is important given that I am now involved in advancing entrepreneurship in 140 countries. As APEC gets ready to complete the rollout of its APEC travel card and other regions outside the European Community develop single visa plans, I wonder how easy it is for current and aspiring entrepreneurs and investors to get around. Is it indeed getting better?
As another November fades into our rearview mirror, we are again reminded that the phenomenon of entrepreneurship is not something that belongs to any one particular community or country. Economies that have been historically less supportive of capitalism—like Venezuela or Iran—are seeing the rise of strong entrepreneur-led startup communities. And equally as important, those communities are bolstered by increasing support from policymakers, academics, investors, media and other startup champions.
Next week, King Mohammed VI of Morocco is visiting President Obama in Washington, DC, on the heels of an announcement that his Majesty’s government will convene an entrepreneurship summit in 2014 with the U.S. Government. Morocco has much to gain from its new partnership with the United States around startups.
The work to support entrepreneurs continues and it reaches a high point this week as Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) launches today in 140 countries with more than 7.5 million participants involved. Thousands of brand new startups are taking their first step this week, while others are driving their next growth phase.
In the midst of angst about Argentina’s political environment for businesses, Buenos Aires has made a strong commitment to review policies and programs with a vision of unleashing a new wave of entrepreneurs that will put the city back in the top places to start and grow a startup. During this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, the City Government will be presenting the Buenos Aires City Entrepreneurship's Master Plan.
This week, President Obama will turn his focus from budget sequestration to immigration. A new Kauffman Foundation report released last week argues that making 75,000 Startup Visas available for current holders of H-1B and F-1 visas who start companies could create as much as 1.6 million U.S. jobs in the next 10 years. Will Washington act or, if they cannot agree, throw the baby out with the bath water?
Last Friday, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress adjourned in Rio de Janeiro, ending a week of intense sessions that engaged over two thousand people from 130 countries in discussions around building stronger entrepreneurship ecosystems back home. While the Congress included Global Entrepreneurship Week host country delegations, investors and entrepreneurs, it opened last Monday with a new session for policymakers and researchers. The experiment was a success and ended with a commitment by organizers to make government policy a mainstay of the annual Congress in the future.
Since 2005, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region leads the world in enhancing the business climate for local firms. The region overtook East Asia and the Pacific to become the second most business-friendly, after OECD high-income economies. However, one country, the Ukraine, has been described as the “rotten apple” in the region, comparing unfavorably to its neighboring countries. After meeting the “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States,” I decided to take a closer look.
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