Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem with U.S.-Led Efforts

Saturday, 15 February 2014
Acapulco (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Natalia Pipia , CRDF Global, Arlington, VA
Startup incubators, technology accelerators, and organizations that support technology entrepreneurship all help guide countries toward market-based economies. However, entrepreneurs in emerging markets still lack adequate resources and an ecosystem to support and nurture them. These conditions make it particularly challenging for young people with innovative ideas to start businesses; yet it is for this group that these countries most urgently need to create jobs to promote economic and political stability.

This talk will discuss CRDF Global’s long history of successful projects supporting entrepreneurship in Eurasia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, focusing in particular on the Global Initiative through Science and Technology. GIST is a CRDF Global program implemented in partnership with U.S. Department of State that launches projects that celebrate and cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in emerging economies. By working closely with local partners, CRDF Global and GIST build a sustainable community for entrepreneurs, helping local innovation hubs and startup accelerators.

CRDF Global focuses on building Capacity, Connectivity, and Culture to grow an ecosystem for science and technology entrepreneurship. Startup Bootcamps hosted by local partners teach new methods of implementation and help partners build capacity and stronger local relationships while training entrepreneurs. To connect entrepreneurs to global markets and knowledge, CRDF Global provides world-class mentors to share their expertise and builds a thriving culture that supports entrepreneurship.

Since it was launched in 2011, GIST has played a major role in bolstering support for entrepreneurship in the Middle East, Africa, and Central and Southeast Asia. GIST has engaged 185,000 entrepreneurs in its social network and trained more than 1,000 early and growth-stage entrepreneurs. The top 88 GIST-identified ventures have cumulatively raised $21 million in funding, generated $3 million in annual revenue, and created 375 jobs in the past 12 months.