More than at any previous time in history, entrepreneurship appears to be taking its rightful place on the world stage as central to any nation's efforts to build its economy. A plethora of grassroots organizations across the globe are vying for funding to grow and expand entrepreneurial efforts to meet demand for entrepreneurship's economic benefits. Nations once hostile to individualism, such as Venezuela, Russia, and Ecuador, are welcoming new, innovative startups.
There is hardly an economic leader across the globe not eager to unleash entrepreneurial potential as a source of new growth. Just look at the expanding embrace of the Kauffman Foundation's annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, the worldwide celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation. GEW has grown exponentially since its inaugural event in 2008. In 2010, more than 10 million people from 112 countries took part in an estimated 40,000 events. GEW brings together aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs through local, national, and global activities to help them develop knowledge, skills, and networks so they can grow sustainable enterprises. We feature observations on page 155 from some of the dedicated partners who share what the Week means to their organizations and their countries.
Another case in point: When a U.S. president convenes a Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship that draws over 200 leaders from more than fifty countries on five continents, policymakers outside the United States cannot help but take a hard look at entrepreneurial capitalism and examine how entrepreneur-friendly their economies are back home.
President Obama's 2010 Summit on Entrepreneurship, organized by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, was designed to promote entrepreneurship in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as a tool for economic and development policy. The Kauffman Foundation hosted the delegates at the opening reception and pledged support for the U.S. State Department's efforts to tap American talent in helping other economies capitalize on their new entrepreneurs in creating jobs and new economic growth. On page 159, you can read more about how the State Department is exporting entrepreneurship to other nations as a key component of U.S. foreign policy.
Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Presidential Summit represent examples of a growing global shift toward making entrepreneurship the core focus of economic policies and programs. Another inspiring example is in an essay that follows that tells the story of how one entrepreneur is helping to transform Indonesia into an entrepreneurial nation through education programs.
You also will read an interview with the founder of a global entrepreneurship education model that is redefining the role of venture capital and incubators, and transcending geography to help startups succeed anywhere in the world.
It is the Kauffman Foundation's hope that the stories that follow offer inspiration and encouragement for anyone who wants to make a difference, create a job, unleash an idea, or strengthen an economy wherever they live on the planet.