US to Coordinate Efforts, Mobilize Investment for Global Entrepreneurship
Friday, May 15, 2015
Think entrepreneurship is critical for global development? This week the U.S. government indicated it does too with the announcement of a new initiative aimed at coordinating its global entrepreneurship efforts and spurring additional investment.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced the Spark Global Entrepreneurship coalition, made investing in women and youth entrepreneurs a top priority, called for greater investment in emerging market entrepreneurs and introduced nine presidential ambassadors for entrepreneurship in an event at the White House.
The goal of Spark is to generate more than a billion dollars in private investment for entrepreneurs around the world by the end of 2017, with half of those funds targeting women and young entrepreneurs.
“At a time when the world is more interconnected than ever, we’ve got unprecedented opportunities to help more people access capital and resources and networks that they need to succeed,” President Obama said in a speech announcing the initiative this week. “At a time that we’re facing challenges that no country can meet by itself — lifting people out of poverty, combating climate change, preventing the spread of disease — helping social entrepreneurs mobilize and organize brings more people together to find solutions.”
Rather than create new programs or a new institution, the effort will serve as a central coordinating role for existing U.S. government programs, including youth leadership initiatives and programs like the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures and Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship. Some existing programs will expand opportunities for women and young entrepreneurs, according to the White House statement.
This announcement precedes two events — one in Spain and the other in Nigeria — that will look to draw attention and funding to entrepreneurship in the lead-up to this summer’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, which is the first time the event will be held in sub-Saharan Africa.