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Boosting The Entrepreneurial Spirit


USAID Read Malawi Partnership, Photo Credit: Inveneo

USAID has launched a new initiative to boost those who would launch new enterprises-- Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship, or PACE.

The administration of President Barack Obama believes that if our neighbors prosper, then so will the United States. First, we must take on poverty, by creating jobs and improving economies.


And because entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth, job creation and innovation, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has launched a new initiative to boost those who would launch new enterprises-- Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship, or PACE.

The idea is to step in and help where a small extra push could make the difference to the success of enterprises, be it through catalyzing private investment, encouraging innovation or helping to develop sustainable approaches in the development of new enterprises.

Some 400 million people work as entrepreneurs around the world. Nonetheless, entrepreneurship has not reached its full potential in most developing countries. This is largely due to gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem within these countries, roadblocks that may prevent entrepreneurs from access to financial resources, expertise and advisory support, along with networks needed to start a new venture, help them try out and refine their business models, and offer support so they may grow.

One area PACE can help is in the so-called “pioneer gap”, where early-stage enterprises cite a lack of access to finance as a key challenge; investors cite a lack of investment-ready enterprises, which leads to a concentration of investment funding in older enterprises with proven records, while new, often highly promising enterprises in need of funding, go begging. Here, PACE plans to help evaluate entrepreneurial models to help potential investors and donors better see the value of investing in specific early-stage enterprises.

Finally, PACE plans to focus on incubating start-up enterprises in underserved areas, both geographic and within specific industries or market sectors, such as for example food security, global health and energy access.

“In the last 20 years alone, human ingenuity and entrepreneurship around the world have reduced child mortality rates by 42 percent and poverty rates by 48 percent—lifting over 600 million people above the dollar-and-a-quarter poverty line,” said USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah.

Through programs like PACE, we hope to continue advancing global prosperity.
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