USAID Recognizes Role of Entrepreneurs in Development during National Entrepreneurship Month

Washington, D.C. - On November 1st, the Obama Administration issued a proclamation declaring November 2013 as National Entrepreneurship Month.  In recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) is proud to announce a series of initiatives that will expand entrepreneurial opportunities through increased access to capital for high-growth start-ups, entrepreneurship education, and collaborations between large companies, financial institutions, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries.

Since the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2009, creating broad-based economic opportunity through entrepreneurship has been critical to USAID’s efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. As President Obama stated in his message at the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit last month, “Our Nation is strongest when we broaden entrepreneurial opportunity, when more of us can test our ideas in the global marketplace, and when the best innovations can rise to the top.”

"Over the last 20 years, entrepreneurship and human ingenuity have helped reduce poverty by 48 percent and child mortality by 42 percent around the world," stated Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator. “By strengthening this culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, we will not only energize the global economy, but also build a bridge out of extreme poverty for millions of people around the world."

USAID has played a leading role in promoting the U.S. Government’s efforts to join forces with entrepreneurs, social enterprises and impact investors to mainstream their role in global development and work together to improve the lives of millions of people. Investing more than $900 million in over 100 programs benefiting entrepreneurs in developing countries, USAID supports skills-building and education, enables access to capital and markets, and mitigates risk while encouraging more investment in developing markets.

New and ongoing initiatives include the following:

  • USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah was named to the President’s Committee of Global Entrepreneurs as announced at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit on Oct. 11, 2013. Members of the Committee will act as champions, educators and partners of entrepreneurship mentoring young entrepreneurs, promoting start-up culture through events and engaging with governments.
  • USAID's Development Credit Authority (DCA) has collaborated with 294 financial institutions since 1999 to leverage $3.1 billion in private capital for underserved but creditworthy entrepreneurs in 70 countries. In the past year alone, DCA unlocked $500 million in private capital for businesses in developing countries.
  • USAID is launching the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative to support the creation, incubation, and scale-up of promising, high-growth entrepreneurial ventures that have the potential to lift some of the poorest communities in the world out of poverty.
  • Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), USAID's venture fund for finding, testing and scaling innovative development solutions, opens the door of USAID to new partners worldwide, including entrepreneurs with bold new ideas for solving challenges around the world. Through its year-round open innovation competition, DIV has invested in 15 entrepreneurs in 5 sectors and 9 countries in the last year alone. Learn more about DIV's recent awards to entrepreneurs.
  • The International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) and the Calvert Foundation will launch a Diaspora Investment Initiative, focused on establishing an ecosystem of programs that will enable diaspora in the U.S. to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and investment and to make impact investments in their countries of heritage.
  • The Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, formed by USAID and the Synergos Institute, in collaboration with Ashoka and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, works with leading organizations active in social entrepreneurship globally and regionally to support policy regulations, enhance existing networks of social impact organizations and institutions, and promote the value and increase the visibility of social entrepreneurship in U.S. Government programming through a public-private sector collaboration. The Alliance is building on its programs in Egypt and Lebanon and along with the Aga Khan Development Network, has completed a mapping of social entrepreneurship in Central Asia and worked with the University of Central Asia on social entrepreneurship curricula.
  • USAID is bringing together Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with Hewlett Packard to establish an Entrepreneurship Center of Excellence at Yangon Institute of Economics in Burma. The Center will support entrepreneurship and the development or expansion of micro enterprises, particularly in sectors that will foster inclusive economic growth with a particular focus on women and youth.
  • USAID is working to build technology skills and foster entrepreneurship through a partnership with Cisco Systems. In Burma, this partnership has established two Cisco Networking Academies, focused on building foundational information communications technology (ICT) knowledge, while also developing skills in problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking. In Mexico, USAID and Cisco are collaborating to build technology and entrepreneurship skills in three northern Mexican cities.

 The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years.

Last updated: November 21, 2013

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