As part of its foreign policy, the Obama Administration is promoting economic and social entrepreneurship. That is because entrepreneurship is a key element of development. It fosters economic growth, creates jobs and opportunities, and encourages the expansion of civil society.
An early product of this policy is the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, announced by President Barack Obama in his June 2009 speech in Cairo: "I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world."
The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, which takes place in Washington in late April, will highlight the importance of entrepreneurship, job creation and community development. More broadly, the summit aims to support entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic opportunity at home and abroad.
An estimated 250 delegates from over 50 countries on 5 continents have been invited to participate in the summit. They include successful entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and leaders of entrepreneurship networks, non-profit organizations, foundations, and businesses that are invested in promoting business or social entrepreneurship in Muslim communities around the world. Representing the United States will be senior U.S. government officials, outstanding U.S. entrepreneurs and business leaders.
This will provide a forum to help each group to learn about the other, exchange ideas, learn each other's most successful efforts and approaches. But the Obama Administration also hopes to afford the international delegates the opportunity to connect with potential American investors, thus helping to build networks and develop partnerships that may lead to innovative solutions.
"The spirit of entrepreneurship," wrote U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, in a blog about the summit, "is shared by all people regardless of culture, or national borders, and that entrepreneurial activity can serve as a catalyst to promote economic growth, create jobs, and benefit people around the world."
It is this spirit that drives the engine of a successful economy. And it is this spirit that the U.S. hopes to support.