President Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship – Summary from D. Brent Hardt, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

Embassy-sealUS President Barack Obama’s April 26-27 Summit on Entrepreneurship highlighted the critical role entrepreneurship can play in expanding economic opportunity throughout the world and deepening trade, investment and other economic ties between the United States and countries around the world. The Summit brought together 250 successful entrepreneurs from more than fifty countries who identified ways to advance economic and social entrepreneurship and build partnerships and networks among entrepreneurial stakeholders.

Summit participants recognized that promoting entrepreneurship will require new public-private partnerships. An example of such a partnership is the developing relationship between the U.S. Embassy, the University of the West Indies Cave Hill School of Business, and the Barbados Youth Business Trust to launch a Young Entrepreneurs Business Plan competition. The winners of the competition will be those entrepreneurs who submit the best business plan as judged by a committee of experts. Each winner will receive a start-up prize to help them turn their business into a reality or to further their education. The competition in Barbados will be the first in the region sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, which hopes to use it as a model for the rest of the eastern Caribbean.

BYBT LOGOAs Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently observed: “The Obama Administration is dedicated to boosting entrepreneurism both in the United States and in other countries where talent is widespread, but opportunity often is not….events like the Summit and Global Entrepreneurship Week reflect a sense of collective responsibility to encourage young minds to pursue fresh ideas and unleash the full range of human potential.”

Wise political leaders and economic managers understand the value of supporting entrepreneurship. They know that even the most daring risk-takers need confidence that the merit of their ideas and effort will eventually result in profitable products and services. Young female entrepreneurs are often outside the economic mainstream of their countries, even though they typically have strong ties to their communities and make civic contributions such as promoting education, supporting charitable organizations, upgrading local infrastructure, or encouraging responsible stewardship of environmental resources.

Cave-Hill-SOB-Logo-FinalRegions that innovate and successfully generate clusters of entrepreneurial enterprises have one thing in common: they are endowed with talent, capital and business know-how. Barbados and other countries in the Eastern Caribbean have the potential to be such an innovative region. There is an abundance of local talent, adequate capital, and a deep pool of internationally knowledgeable business experts including lawyers, accountants, management consultants and bankers. These often overlooked elements form the yeast that make new companies grow. They also explain why some regions continually generate dynamic, job-creating companies and others do not.

The U.S. Embassy is pleased to see that the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in Barbados. We look forward to working with the Government of Barbados, the University of the West Indies, and other local partners to support the creativity and ingenuity of a new generation of Barbadian businessmen and women.

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