U.S. Government Launches New Entrepreneurship Toolkit

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The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State recently hosted a conference titled ‘Successful Approaches to Fostering Entrepreneurship’. This half-day event was attended by 50 representatives from the private, not-for-profit and education fields working to promote entrepreneurship around the world. The conference provided participants an opportunity to discuss about the best practices being implemented in supporting early stage entrepreneurs around the world.

During the event, a new Entrepreneurship Toolkit was launched. This 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.

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The event and toolkit are part of the State-led Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) launched by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in April 2010. “Entrepreneurship has always been of great importance for the United States, both domestically and internationally via its impact on innovation, job creation and trade, ” said Eric Postel, assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture 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.”

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. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez described as a goal of the program, “We want to share our experience as a society – an experience 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.

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