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Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week


By Marcia Bernicat
Nov 15 2016 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

In November we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration of all of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. Since the first Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2007, millions of people have participated in thousands of exciting events held in more than a hundred countries around the world. Last year alone, US embassies and consulates hosted or participated in more than 125 events in at least 75 countries, including here in Bangladesh where last year we launched the one-of-a-kind Makerspace, a co-working space that convenes entrepreneurs, engineers, audio and visual artists, and computer scientists to innovate and problem solve, at the Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Service and the Arts.

Illustration: profitguide

Illustration: profitguide

Entrepreneurs transformed the American economy into a global source of science, technology, advanced manufacturing and energy innovations – from the phone in your pocket, to private spacecraft delivering payloads to space, to sleek solar panel roof tiles. Entrepreneurship and innovation continue to play a vital role in the growth of the US economy that has translated into three million jobs created by new ventures in 2015.

Entrepreneurship is also thriving in Bangladesh – from small street venders to social entrepreneurs reshaping the microfinance and mobile payments industries. As Bangladesh’s impressive economic growth continues to improve the livelihoods of millions of people, entrepreneurs are the key to unlocking even greater potential. Increasing access to startup capital, protecting intellectual property rights, refining a supportive business eco-system, tackling corruption, and reforming education to provide people with more relevant skills for the labour market, can assure more sustainable economic growth.

Inclusive economic policies benefitting youth and women also increase shared prosperity. What opportunities do you see to empower youth to find innovative solutions to the country’s problems, or to tap the creative talents and earning power of the half of Bangladesh’s population that is comprised of women? The United Nations is observing Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19. I invite you to join the efforts around the world to identify and break down barriers women face, such as low access to the formal banking system and familial expectations, that prevent them from starting or growing a business.

President Obama said the entrepreneurial spirit empowers people to come together to tackle our most pressing global problems, from climate change to poverty. He praised entrepreneurs who turn ideas into reality, creating good-paying jobs that put rising economies on the path to prosperity. Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus said human beings are born entrepreneurs. Please join me this week in recognising the potential entrepreneur in each of us. Together let’s explore new avenues to promote the entrepreneurial spirit and enrich Bangladesh as a startup nation.

The writer is US Ambassador to Bangladesh.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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