Jonathan Ortmans

Building One Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Month: April 2010

State Department Initiatives for Entrepreneurship Announced

At the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship which I am attending this week, in her speech before all the delegates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced specific steps to create entrepreneurial environments, expand access to capital and expertise, and advance mentorship for emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs around the world.
“These initiatives comprise a first wave of programs to promote global entrepreneurship. But they reflect the Obama Administration’s commitment to a new approach to development, one based on investment, not aid; on supporting local leadership and ideas rather than imposing our own. We believe that this approach is more likely to yield lasting results in the form of greater security, dignity, prosperity, and opportunity for more people worldwide. And we call on other governments to help facilitate this progress,” expressed Secretary Clinton at the Summit. Here are the initiatives:
  1. The Global Entrepreneurship Program: This initiative aims to create successful entrepreneurial environments, starting in Muslim-majority communities and eventually expanding to others worldwide. This program will involve collaboration with private sector partners and local businesses and civil society groups to sponsor business plan, expand access to capital, facilitate partnerships between business schools in the U.S. and educational institutions worldwide, and implement mentoring programs. The Global Entrepreneurship Program’s first pilot program will be in Egypt, coordinated by a team of Entrepreneurs in Residence from USAID. Indonesia will be next.
  2. Partnerships with two Silicon Valley-based organizations — the Global Technology and Innovation Partners, and the Innovators Fund. The goal of this effort is to increase access to seed funding, venture capital, and Silicon Valley’s technology and business expertise. “The State Department will help facilitate this effort by connecting these funds with local partners and institutions. Now, our partnerships are inclusive. We seek to work with a wide range of private sector groups that are looking to support entrepreneurs worldwide,” Clinton said.  These two partnerships will launch in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Malaysia, and will then expand from there.
  3. Partners for a New Beginning: This initiative consists of new team of eminent Americans from various sectors and industries who will lead an effort to engage the U.S. private sector in carrying out our vision for a new beginning with Muslims in communities globally. Through collaborations like helping to launch internships and mentoring programs for emerging business leaders and encouraging angel investors in the U.S. to partner with angel investors abroad, this team aims to expand the number of Americans contributing to the endeavor of expanding entrepreneurship. Partners for a New Beginning will be chaired by former Secretary Madeline Albright.
  4. E-Mentor Corps: This online resource will facilitate support and advice for entrepreneurs. “Through the e-Mentor Corps, an entrepreneur seeking a mentor can go online and find a person with the expertise they need on everything from securing financing to writing a business plan,” explained Secretary Clinton. Among the organizations that have already pledged to supply mentors from their global networks are the Kauffman Foundation, Intel, Ernst & Young, Endeavor, TechWadi, the Young Presidents’ Organization, and Babson College. Stay tuned for links to the online portals for this initiative.

Washington Rolls Out Red Carpet for Global Entrepreneurship

This afternoon, President Obama addressed the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship organized by the Department of State and the Department of Commerce following his promise in Cairo last June. The event is designed to promote entrepreneurship in Africa, the Middle East, and South, Central and Southeast Asia as a tool for economic and development policy and to fulfill the President’s commitment to broaden and deepen ties between the United States and Muslim communities around the world. Continue reading

The State of Entrepreneurship in Malaysia

Today, we start the seven day countdown for the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, and I want to take the opportunity to highlight a nation where entrepreneurship is starting to bloom: Malaysia. Although not yet a start-up economy, the desire for entrepreneurship and innovation are there, along with a growing number of public policies to support them– a good recipe to put the economy on the entrepreneurial path. Continue reading

Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to join an extraordinary group of women entrepreneurs mostly from Saudi Arabia for a lunch at the home of the Honorable Esther Coopersmith.  All were both proud of their higher education in Saudi Arabia and had started companies in a wide range of businesses from construction to IT.  I should not have been surprised.  Starting a business in Saudi Arabia is relatively easy. Its “ease of starting a business” rank is 13 out of 183 economies, according the World Bank’s Doing Business 2010 data. This is not surprising. Saudi Arabia is widely recognized as a leader in promoting and enabling entrepreneurship and innovation. Continue reading

Entrepreneurship in Turkey

Turkey offers quite a sophisticated platform for entrepreneurs. It has a diversified industrial base, a relatively stable political and economic environment, a critical mass of willing early adopters, a considerable talent pool, a strong domestic market and underserved neighboring markets. Yet, currently only 6 out of 100 people are entrepreneurs – a very low rate given the country’s level of development. What challenges does Turkey need to address in order to unleash entrepreneurship as a force for economic growth? Continue reading

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