Entrepreneurship Globe Blogging Tour
Jonathan Ortmans, President, Public Forum Institute
Welcome to Global Entrepreneurship Week. Throughout this week, I will be reporting in from entrepreneurship policy events around the world. Global Entrepreneurship Week is engaging more than four million participants in 88 countries exploring new venture creation as a career path through mentoring activities, business plan competitions, networking events and other fun activities. It offers an extraordinary demonstration to policymakers that there is a new wave of entrepreneurialism before us and if we want to build economies and make jobs, they must quickly create the most favorable environment possible.
In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke have joined dozens of ministers and heads of state around the world in applauding and participating in Global Entrepreneurship Week. From one end of the earth to the other, the importance governments attach to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation as a means to expand human welfare is emerging very strongly. Development organizations, entrepreneurship researchers and entrepreneurs themselves will lend their voices and experiences to these Global Entrepreneurship Week policy dialogues. In South Africa, for example, the “State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa Summit” on November 19 will gather entrepreneurship thought leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss how to address the low rate of entrepreneurial participation in South Africa and what efforts should be made to increase entrepreneurial activities. Outcomes and insights from the debate will be outlined in a white paper or a small business advisory council. In Cairo, Egypt, the Minister of Education, the President of the Financial Supervisory Authority and other high-ranking officials will convene on November 15 to launch Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in the country and discuss how to build an entrepreneurial environment through education, cultural change and pro-entrepreneurship policies.
In Vienna, the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) will host a forum on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Central and Eastern European Competitiveness” on November 15-17. Representatives from business sector, the government and civil society will exchange thoughts on the role of entrepreneurship in the post-Communist transition.
In Washington, D.C., the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will bring together development partners, foundations, research institutions, IFC clients and practitioners in a workshop on "Achieving Scale in Entrepreneurship" on November 16. This event will focus on the entrepreneurship landscape in emerging markets and frontier countries, and will allow participants to share best practices on governance and explore challenges to "scaling-up" successful enterprises. Featured speakers at the workshop include Iqbal Quadir, Director of the MIT Legatum Center, Rachel Robbins, Vice President and General Counsel at the IFC, and Robert Litan, Vice President for Research & Policy at the Kauffman Foundation.
Also in DC, the World Bank will gather on November 18th academics, government leaders and other thought leaders to examine interventions that are improving women’s self employment in developing and post-conflict countries. Even more policy discussion will take place at the World Bank on November 19-20 during the “Conference on Entrepreneurship and Growth”. This event will explore government regulations and reforms, private sector initiatives, and financial sector developments that affect firm creation and size, as well as the dynamism of incumbent firms.
In Dubai, the Best Practices in Entrepreneurship Policy (BPEP) conference on November 19-20 will bring together thought leaders from Arab region who want improve the policy climate for entrepreneurship in the region. The conference will seek to identify the best practices in entrepreneurship policy and those laws and regulations that are in need of reform in order to promote the launch and high-growth success of new ventures by average citizens.
Many other policy summits and conferences will take place around the world, bringing together entrepreneurs and government officials to discuss how business, the public sector and educational institutions can collaborate to improve the quality of life of people around the world through employment and economic betterment. I invite you to follow the discussions at these events through this week’s reports on the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship blog.
Entrepreneurs drive economic growth and job creation. Through these policy gatherings they will have the chance to be engaged citizens and thereby to extend their contributions to the improvement of their communities. Moreover, these dialogues promise to develop a more profound appreciation of entrepreneurship around the world. When top-level officials engage in Global Entrepreneurship Week they send a message to their constituents about the government’s support for entrepreneurship, making young minds even more comfortable with the idea of doing good through the marketplace. This intangible reform, combined with easier laws and regulations for new and growing businesses, form a powerful formula for economic recovery and long term growth. Let’s hope decision makers look up and listen.
Jonathan Ortmans is president of the Public Forum Institute, a non-partisan organization dedicated to fostering dialogue on important policy issues. In this capacity, he leads the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, focused on public policies to promote entrepreneurship in the U.S. and around the world. In addition, he serves as a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation.