On September 21, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State hosted a half-day conference that brought together 50 representatives from the private, academic, and not-for-profit sectors involved in promoting and spurring entrepreneurship around the world. The event, Successful Approaches to Fostering Entrepreneurship, also served as a platform to launch a new Entrepreneurship Toolkit and provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences, research, and best practices in supporting early stage entrepreneurs around the world. The event and toolkit are part of the State Department-led Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) launched by Secretary of State Clinton during the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in April 2010.
Entrepreneurship is of great importance to the United States, both domestically and internationally, due to its impact on innovation, job creation, and trade. This initiative is an important step forward in strengthening the United States’ ability to help in the identification and capacity building of entrepreneurs throughout the world.
The Entrepreneurship Toolkit, developed jointly by USAID’s Business Growth Initiative and the GEP, is intended to help GEP partners design, implement, and monitor successful entrepreneurship development programs. It provides users with information on entrepreneurship best practices, case studies, lessons learned, key questions for program design, links to development partners, as well as additional publications and reference materials. The toolkit is intended to be a “living” document, allowing for periodic revisions to reflect the ever-changing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurship is now recognized as one of the strongest drivers of global job creation, with an important impact on economic growth and political stability. The United States is uniquely placed to support and assist entrepreneurship overseas because of its expertise and entrepreneurial culture. The U.S. seeks to share its experience as a society— one that has empowered inventors and innovators and enabled them to turn their dreams into new businesses.
The GEP currently coordinates the efforts and resources of 125 U.S. and foreign partners in six areas of activity essential for effective entrepreneurship development: identifying promising entrepreneurs, training them, connecting them to local and international networks, increasing access to financing, encouraging a supportive regulatory and policy environment, and celebrating the success of entrepreneurs. While the GEP was initially focused on Muslim-majority pilot countries, it is in the process of expanding to become a truly global program.
To access the Entrepreneurship Toolkit, visit: http://egateg.usaid.gov/.